A Duke Health analysis of treatments for patients with traumatic brain injuries shows that race, geographic region and payment status were significantly associated with the decision to withdraw life support.

Specifically, the study found that African American were less likely than their white counterparts to have life support withdrawn, while patients on Medicare and those who live in the Midwest and Northeast were more likely to have treatment withdrawn.

“The message of racial disparity in and goals-of-care discussions is a crucial one, especially now,” said Theresa Williamson, M.D., a resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke