Higher rate of death for weekend hospital admissions
It's never a good time to go to the hospital, but certain days may be worse than others.
New research has found that the risk of death goes up by "about 10 percent in relative risk terms" for those admitted during the weekend versus the weekdays.
According to one of the authors, these rates translate to an additional 20 to 25,000 fatalities in the U.S. annually simply based on what has been termed the "weekend effect."
Though this phenomenon had been identified in prior studies, a team from England conducted a deeper assessment of data from 28 hospitals located in the U.S., England, Australia, and the Netherlands involving nearly 3 million admissions from 2009 to 2012.
After narrowing down the information pool to include only deaths that happened within 30 days of admission, they determined that the risk was higher on the weekend in 3 of the 4 countries whether the purpose was for emergency care or elective surgery.
Though Australian hospitals didn't show increases within that period of time, there was evidence of the "weekend effect" within the shorter window of 7 days.
While the researchers could not determine an exact cause for the phenomenon, they believe there may be reduced quality of care due to fewer well-trained staff and limited access to equipment on the weekends.