Have you ever worried that the care you get at a hospital during the weekend is substandard. Well, you have reason to. A recent study from the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal looked at the rates of mortality (death) for patients admitted into the hospital during the weekend. They found that for both emergency and elective procedures, the risk that a patient may die increased 13% for care provided over the weekend. The report stated, “Emergency patients in the English, US and Dutch hospitals showed significant higher adjusted odds of deaths on Saturday s and Sundays compared with a Monday admission.” This phenomenon has been termed the “Weekend Effect.”
The study postulated that the increase in deaths was due to more inexperienced medical providers are working during the weekends, some specialties are not available on the weekend, and staffing levels are generally decreased on the weekend. All of these can cause unnecessary waits for care, which can increase harm to the patient.
We have seen many cases in Tucson area hospitals where a patient's care suffered during busy holidays or weekends. We counsel every patient to be a courteous, but insistent advocate for their own care. Regardless of the day of week, you deserve reasonable medical care.