Thursday, March 15, 2007


Death Rate Higher For Weekend Heart Attacks - Health

Death Rate Higher For Weekend Heart Attacks - Health: "In an editorial in the journal, Drs. Donald A. Redelmeier and Chaim M. Bell of the University of Toronto wrote that research has shown surges in patient complications on weekends.
'If the patient dies on the weekend, no heroics on Monday will suffice,' they wrote.
Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale University School of Medicine cardiologist, said differences in staffing levels and communication may play a role in the different death rates. His research team in 2005 found that heart attack sufferers waited 20 to 30 minutes longer for angioplasty on weekends or after hours.
'This may be a quality challenge, for our health system to ensure no matter what time you come to the hospital you're going to get outstanding care' after a heart attack, Krumholz said."

This article reflects a trend in healthcare that is often overlooked. Doctors want to do as they please. If doctors don't want to work weekends, they won't. The administrators feel they have to give in, because doctors are very hard to recruit. The same goes for the labs and radiology. It is expensive for a hospital to keep these departments at full staff levels on the weekends, often because there is lower traffic. Now, however, this study shows that they are increasing, by an average of 5%, the number of deaths of heart attack victims each year. This is a graphic reminder that hospitals are not a 5 day a week, 8 hour a day operation. I certainly hope they listen.

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