When the doctor’s away, the patient is more likely to survive

Photo Credit:arstechnica.com

"Don't get sick on a weekend." That advice is also part of a title of a research paper that evaluates the fates of patients who go through the emergency room on a weekend. These patients are more likely to die. It's just one of a number of studies that suggests patients who enter the hospital while the staffing is lower or the staff more relaxed end up with worse results.

But the precise cause of this enhanced weekend mortality has been hard to determine; is it the reduced staff, a more leisurely approach to care, or some other factor? 

To try to get at the cause, some researchers obtained records of heart patients who had a critical event during a time when hospitals were at full staff, but heart specialists were likely to be out of town. Unexpectedly, they found that the patients did significantly better when the relevant specialists were unavailable."


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