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All the doctors dying are Asian - what’s going on?

(574 Posts)
MMXVi Thu 09-Apr-20 19:20:58

And why is nobody asking questions about this?

I’m over-invested in the answer because my sister is a doctor very much on the frontline, and we’re of Indian ethnicity. I want her to be protected and if she’s facing some sort of additional genetic, behavioural or dietary risk I want that flagged up to her and other doctors PDQ, not to mention their patients of the same ethnicity.

If I see another glib and possibly slightly racist response about BAME people being poorer and therefore more prone to underlying conditions I’ll flip my lid totally by the way. There’s a world of difference between an Asian hospital consultant on £150k in stockbrokerville and someone Asian on the breadline in an overcrowded council flat, and it isn’t helpful to lump them together in this instance.

So far, I’ve seen a thread about Vitamin D3 deficiency making darker-skinned people more susceptible to respiratory illness. That makes sense to me, and I’ve already ordered some from Amazon for my sister as well as the rest of our family.

My mother (not medically qualified) has a touching belief in the anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic powers of turmeric so I’m making daal as we speak.

My dad (retired very senior doctor and the veteran of more than one pandemic) says probably multi-factorial, but as he’s currently recovering from cancer and therefore very high risk, I’m not going to make him elaborate.

Any other ideas and theories?

Anyone else concerned about why the press have neglected to mention this glaringly obvious information?

Unshriven Thu 09-Apr-20 19:23:44

I wondered too.

Perhaps a predisposition to underlying conditions?

Or a reflection of the ethnic backgrounds of medics in the UK?

perniciousdot Thu 09-Apr-20 19:24:21


This has been reported confused

ArtisanBreadBin Thu 09-Apr-20 19:26:24

There's some information on this on Twitter, I can't remember the poster though but I will look for it. I don't know if BAME doctors and nurses ore over represented in the hot spots like London and Birmingham. Hope your sister is ok OP, I can't imagine how worrying it is.

Unshriven Thu 09-Apr-20 19:26:32

It's not just the doctors by the way, but medics in general, nurses, carers etc.

Stroller15 Thu 09-Apr-20 19:26:49

It has been mentioned and a lot of researchers are looking into it.

Noeuf Thu 09-Apr-20 19:26:55

Reported why?

Dh and I mentioned this earlier. I think it could be a reflection on make up of medical staff?

woodencoffeetable Thu 09-Apr-20 19:27:57

my guess is that nobody really knows (yet).
I've heard the theory about vit d and also about (relatively) higher body fat and therefore diabetes risk which seems to be a risk factor for covid-19 complications.

I hope your sister and dad stay healthy.

ChipotleBlessing Thu 09-Apr-20 19:28:16

I wondered if there is some level of institutional racism which means BAME medical professionals are more likely to be put in risky situations without sufficient PPE. I have no idea whether that might be the case.

There was also an early theory about Asian people being more susceptible due to ACE2 receptors. That might have been debunked, I don’t know.

Typhoonmarie Thu 09-Apr-20 19:28:39

I would say it was a reflection of the ethnicity of the majority of doctors in this country.
I think at least one of the nurses has been white.

OhTheRoses Thu 09-Apr-20 19:28:42

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

chataway Thu 09-Apr-20 19:28:45

Why is it reported? I have been wondering the same and why should it not be discussed?

helpmum2003 Thu 09-Apr-20 19:28:51

Do Asian doctors work til an older age?

SpeedwellBlue Thu 09-Apr-20 19:30:19

The theory i read was that it was to do with Vitamin D

OhTheRoses Thu 09-Apr-20 19:30:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Siameasy Thu 09-Apr-20 19:30:48

Yes I wondered too. Was going to say too what about higher incidence of T2 diabetes in south Asian people? Even if not diagnosed, people can be pre-diabetic without knowing.

Lifeisdinky Thu 09-Apr-20 19:31:04

It is frightening , NHS is an ethnically diverse organisation, hospitals have medics from all over the world , but to me the ethnic mix of known deaths of medics is skewed beyond the ethnic mix of the workforce.
I am sure the ethnicity and rate of deaths / infections across different ethnic backgrounds is being looked at, but that type of data would need to be looked very, very carefully and looked at against the likelihood of death (HSMR statistics based on known comorbodities, age, condition being treated and deprivation)

ihatethecold Thu 09-Apr-20 19:31:05

My dr friend said she was concerned it was because of a lack of Vit D.
Asian and black skin absorbs less from the sunlight and needs more supplementation.

Typhoonmarie Thu 09-Apr-20 19:31:43

From the guardian:
The latest figures show that 43% of senior NHS doctors and 47% of junior doctors were BAME as of March last year.

Mentionitis Thu 09-Apr-20 19:31:46

They're not all Asian, but they have been over-represented for BAME ethnicities.

This article explains it quite well.

RogueV Thu 09-Apr-20 19:32:00

Interesting indeed

MMXVi Thu 09-Apr-20 19:32:16

I know Asians of Indian descent are much more likely to suffer diabetes because of a genetic quirk.

Also, wasn’t there something about the virus being over-represented in a certain blood group?

No clue why the thread has been reported by a trigger happy MNer - but as I’m using my extremely identifiable email address Mumsnet need not worry.

endofthelinefinally Thu 09-Apr-20 19:35:18

Thank goodness we have so many Asian doctors. The NHS would not function without them. I think it is down to numbers TBH. I worked in London for most of my career and as I recall I worked with many, many Asian doctors. I think, in London at least, there are just so many of them.

lakequeen Thu 09-Apr-20 19:35:17

The possible link was blood group A, which is generally more prevalent in Europeans, although not by a huge margin mostly. My husband is south Asian and I was wondering about this, like others I thought of the vitamin D, and the fact that diabetes and heart disease does seem much much more common in his extended than it is amongst my family, who are white British.

crazyontheweekend Thu 09-Apr-20 19:35:24

Op, I’ve definitely noticed this.

I’m convinced it’s the vitamin D theory. Especially for those working long shifts indoors.

It’s proven that a stupidly high % of people in the UK are Vit D deficient, particularly at the end of winter. It’s common knowledge and studied endlessly.

If you’re Black or Asian living in the UK, you are at even higher risk than paler skinned people because your body’s ability to manufacture Vit D from sunlight (specifically UVB) is already lessened due to your higher levels of skin melanin acting like a filter. Couple that with working 13 hour shifts, 5 days a week indoors..... you see what I’m saying. You’ve done exactly what I’d have done and ordered supplements for her.

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