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Food Lady 03-14-2012 04:11 PM

Weird question from the lady checking me in
I have an appt with my GP today. I just checked in and she was making sure my info was updated. I was caught off guard when she asked, "And what's your race?" I thought I heard it wrong. It's just that on various kinds of paperwork over the years I've seen the question, but it's been mostly optional to answer it, so I'd never expect to be asked it in this setting. It's funny how it confuses me, too, because I have to remember to tell them both races, so I get flustered. (I fit into the white category pretty easily and mostly identify with it). I wonder if she thought it weird I was a bit confused, lol.

RecoveringKinkoid 03-14-2012 04:31 PM

I guess they need to know because different races have different health profiles?

I could see where that might be jarring.

I was filling something out for the husband once and it was multiple choice and the choices were "black-white-native american-other" and I was soooo tempted to just check them all and hand it back while giggling.

Kittish 03-14-2012 05:12 PM


Quoth Food Lady (Post 1017534)
I was caught off guard when she asked, "And what's your race?"

My standard answer to this questions is a puzzled look and "Human?"

jedimaster91 03-14-2012 06:06 PM


Quoth RecoveringKinkoid (Post 1017538)
I guess they need to know because different races have different health profiles?

There is some truth to this. It's partly the reason those of African descent are more likely to carry sickle cell. Since a lot of Africa in jungle, you have mosquitoes and mosquitoes carry malaria. However, the malaria bug can't survive in a red blood cell that is sickle-shaped. Sickle cell is an adaptation to combat malaria (although it comes with its own set of problems).

There are other examples, but that's the only one I had sink in during my A&P class. Knowing a patient's race can help the doctor know what diseases and disorders to screen for.

kaherbert 03-14-2012 06:31 PM

I think medical professionals are the only group that needs an answer to this question.

I know one "white" family where the boys suffered for a long time from an undiagionsed illness. Turned out they had sickle Cell. When they had a frank discussion with the grandparents and great-grandparents it tuned out a couple of ancestors on both sides had "passed as white". The children might have been diagnosed earlier if an accurate background was given. (If you have a white child and a AA child with the same symptoms sickle cell is a zebra for the white child but a horse for the AA child).

In another case I read about several children in a family wasted away and died. Turns out that there were Jewish ancestors in the mix and the children who died had Tay-Sach. Again not something you test for outside of Cajun/Canadian French ancestry or Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Also less than 10 years ago an asthma medication had to be pulled because for some reason AA children were having deadly reactions to the medication. Other populations did not have this reaction.

SongsOfDragons 03-15-2012 11:29 AM

Aye, I'm not a health worker (I just read too much) but I think ethnicity is probably a valid question when it comes to medicine. Though we may be unused to having it asked nowadays and it might seem a bit weird. XD

Off the top of my head, as well as Tay-Sachs and Sickle-Cell, there's a couple of others I can remember reading about - rare blood types that don't follow ABOd come from I think Barbados? And Asian people have a different kind of earwax, which may be important when dealing with ear problems?

Seshat 03-15-2012 04:14 PM

It's a problem when you end up with someone like me: on the paternal side it's 'unknown but we all look white', and the maternal side is 'probably Scots or Irish, based on surnames'.

That said, my parents' generation, my generation & hopefully the niece/nephew generation is keeping medical histories, and passing them on. With any luck, the kids will have no further avoidable medical-mystery problems.

raudf 03-15-2012 11:56 PM

I have honestly answered, "I'm probably more Native American, but when it came to my genetic drinking contest, my Scot-Irish side drank the Natives under the table." When really in a mood, I've also answered, "Not sure, but I think I'm an American Mutt."

My hubby is a bit easier. He's half Scottish and half Mutt-American.

Lady Legira 03-16-2012 03:32 AM

If I get asked that I'm going to honestly answer Viking with possibly a little Saxon, and maybe some Goth thrown in.

My family hasn't moved much... in about 1000 years.

Food Lady 03-16-2012 05:53 AM

I said I was white and native american, mostly white.

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