Public Policy

The Mississippi Appendectomy

Access to care is a key issue for the poor. But for many poor, African-Americans, access to care is not the only impediment to regular visits to their doctor.  History can play a big role as well.

For African-Americans, even going to a doctor can be a fraught historical act in Mississippi. There are the practical reasons that come from being poor and uninsured, but there is also a toxic legacy: the Jim Crow laws of living memory that barred blacks from most doctors’ offices, the widespread practice of sterilizing black women as a form of birth control, a practice so common it became known as “Mississippi appendectomies.” Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Mississippians today are less likely than the rest of the country to seek primary care for chronic conditions and more likely to turn to hospitals when those ailments become more serious and expensive.

Some wounds can take a long time to heal.

1 Comment

  1. I would like to talk to someone that was subjected to a Mississippi Appendectomy.
    I am a student at ASU (Arizona State University) studying Global Health.
    Thank you,

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