Weekends are dangerous in Hospitals
Last week the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a study that examined four million urgent acute care hospital admissions between 2010-2013. The study found that there was a 4% higher risk of death for patients admitted to hospital on a weekend rather than a weekday.
The statistics did not apply across the board. The so called “weekend effect” did not occur in hospital admissions for obstetric, pediatric or mental health patients.
The authors of the report point to longer delays for diagnostic tests on the weekend and hospitals having lower staffing levels on weekends as possible reasons for the increased mortality risk.
Different risks at different times
This study confirms what other reports have found on the past, that there are recognized increases in risk of injury or death at different times during the week or the year.
For example, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology studied the records of two million births over a fourteen year period in California. The study found a huge increase in the risk of cerebral palsy for children born at night.
Specifically, children born between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am were 22% more likely to suffer from cerebral palsy than children born at other times during the day.
You can read more in my article: Birth Injuries More Common during Nightshift.
Summertime is dangerous
Studies in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia have all identified that hospitals experience an increased rate of medical errors in the summertime. In fact, the effect is so well known it actually has a nickname.
In the United States they refer to it as the “July Phenomenon” and in the UK they call it the “August Killing Season”.
The studies identify a spike in medical errors and deaths in the summertime when new medical school graduates begin their training. You can read more about it in my article: Beware the July Effect: Hospital Deaths Spike in the Summertime.
How do you protect yourself?
Obviously there is not much we can do to schedule when we become ill and require a hospital admission.
So how do you protect yourself from medical errors after hospital admission?
Take a look at this article by Consumer Reports that provides a thorough checklist of things you can do to decrease your risk of medical complications.
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