No ‘Weekend Effect’ for Trauma Patients

A new study presented at the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma on January 22nd lauded trauma centers for providing quality care, even during “off hours.” While studies of multiple hospitals have shown that patients treated for cardiac or neurological emergencies overnight and on weekends have a greater chance of experiencing complications – or dying – than patients admitted on weekdays, the new findings say this ‘weekend effect’ does not apply to trauma victims.

According to an article on the science news site, one key differentiator is that “Level 1 trauma centers like the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where the research was conducted, are required to have an attending trauma surgeon immediately available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” It goes on to say that on evenings or weekends, someone arriving at a hospital with a heart attack or stroke might find the facility is not equipped to optimally manage their condition.

Brendan G. Carr, MD, MA, MS, lead author of the study, said, “We suggest that an important piece of this mortality benefit may be the explicit requirement for uniform staffing and resources around the clock. Our findings extend well beyond trauma care, illustrating ways in which the emergency care system as a whole can be redesigned to take better care of the sickest, most vulnerable patients.”

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