Avoid Hospitals on Weekends!

In the past decade, studies have found that patients treated at hospitals on weekends have inferior outcomes when compared with those receiving care on weekdays. In some cases, researchers have found, that can also mean a higher death rate.
~ If Possible, Avoid Hospitals on Weekends

New England Journal of Medicine - Researchers followed 231,164 post-heart attack patients from 1987 to 2002. Findings: those admitted on weekends were less likely to receive "aggressive" treatment; they also had slightly higher death rates (12.9%, vs. 12% for weekday patients). I'm not sure that's statistically significant.

The Annals of Surgery - Researchers examined 188,212 patients who had "non-emergency" surgery. Those who had operations on a Friday and spent the weekend recovering were 17% more likely to die within the following 30 days than those who had their operations earlier in the week. More likely to be statistically significant.

Weekend effect - Patients appear to receive less-aggressive care on the weekend. Some speculate that's because weekend patients tend to be sicker, perhaps because they have delayed getting care. If that were true, I could argue that patients admitted into hospitals on Mondays would also be sicker, having likely waited over the weekend to get help.

Conclusion - Patients admitted to hospital on the weekend receive "less aggressive" care. Researchers reached that conclusion by reviewing hospital treatment plans and noting that less aggressive treatment plans dominated the weekend. The rest is speculation.

Another thought - More speculation: I wonder if surgeons (in the The Annals of Surgery study) freely elected to do surgery on Fridays, even though they'd have to be on call for post-op issues during the weekend. If the surgeons had a choice, I bet they'd probably delay surgery until the following week. Hence, perhaps the Friday "non-emergency" surgeries were were actually fairly urgent.

The Claim: If Possible, Avoid Hospitals on Weekends - New York Times

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