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Medicine Stats United Kingdom

Surgeries On Friday Are More Frequently Fatal 152

Posted by timothy
from the saturday-sunday-happy-days dept.
antdude writes "A British Medical Journal (BMJ) research report says that 'Surgeries on Friday Are More Frequently Fatal ... compared to those who opt for really bad Mondays, Britons who have a planned surgery on a Friday are 44 percent more likely to die. And the few patients who had a leisurely weekend surgery saw that number jump to 82 percent. The skeleton staff working on weekends might be to blame.'"
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Surgeries On Friday Are More Frequently Fatal

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  • Re:Correlation (Score:5, Informative)

    by gazbo (517111) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:54AM (#43889637)
    The study only looked at elective surgery, not urgent surgery.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @12:11PM (#43889761) Homepage Journal

    If you want real stats you have to go procedure by procedure and compare similar cases

    Which, amazingly, is exactly what the authors of the paper did. It's open-access; click the link and read it for yourself.

    Oh, wait, I forgot. On Slashdot, scientists are morons and people who read an article on a pop-sci site a month ago know everything, and any use of statistics can and must instantly be banished with the Words Of Power, Which I Will Not Utter Here.

  • by kurthr (30155) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @12:21PM (#43889839)

    These are scheduled elective surgeries, not emergency admissions!

    Our analysis confirms our overall study hypothesis (with some heterogeneity) of a âoeweekday effectâ on mortality for patients undergoing elective surgeryâ"that is, a worse outcome in terms of 30 day mortality for patients who have procedures carried out closer to the end of the week and at the weekend itself. The reasons behind this remain unknown, but we know that serious complications are more likely to occur within the first 48 hours11 after an operation, and a failure to rescue the patient could be due to well known issues relating to reduced and/or locum staffing (expressed as number and level of experience) and poorer availability of services over a weekend.

  • Re:Car Analogy (Score:5, Informative)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:49PM (#43892193) Journal

    This study is only about scheduled surgeries, i.e. non-emergency surgeries. That said, there is a continuum between the two, so it is plausible that they're more likely to be somewhat urgent, or else they would have put them off until a few weeks later so the doctor could go play golf. :-D

    That said, I think the fatigue theory has a lot of merit. It is common knowledge that surgeries performed later in the day have higher rates of complications, surgical errors, anesthesia mistakes, etc. There's no reason to believe that surgeries later in the week would not be similarly affected, for precisely the same reason.

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