Head Traumas Are More Fatal On Weekends
August 17, 2012 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
BALTIMORE, (UPI) – Older U.S. adults with a head injury during a weekend are significantly more likely to die than those similarly hospitalized during the week, researchers say.
Study leader Eric B. Schneider — an epidemiologist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research — said the so-called weekend effect on patient outcomes was well documented with heart attacks, stroke and aneurysm treatment.
Using data from 2006 to 2008, Schneider and colleagues examined records from 38,675 people ages 65-89 admitted to U.S. hospitals with head trauma — 25.6 percent occurred on weekends.
The findings, published online in the Journal of Surgical Research, found weekend patients were 14 percent more likely than weekday patients to die from their injuries.
Schneider suggested reduced staffing levels and/or lack of ready access to specialists were factors in the higher weekend death rates after head injury, even in cases in which injuries were less severe and victims have fewer other illnesses than their weekday counterparts.
“There isn’t a medical reason for worse results on weekends,” Schneider said in a statement. “It’s more likely a difference in how hospitals operate over the weekend as opposed to during the week, meaning that there may be a real opportunity for hospitals to change how they operate and save lives.”