Thursday, August 09, 2012

Older people--beware hosps on weekends


In our family, we call the weekend “the black hole” of health care. No doctors will see you (or few), many will not call back for hours, the hospitals are short-staffed, specialists refuse to come over more than usual.

Johns Hopkins recently confirmed this with a review of 38,000 patient records showing that older adults (65-80) who sustain substantial head trauma (fall in the tub, say) are more likely to die of this than if hospitalized Monday through Friday.

Such effects have also been shown for stroke and heart attack.

They call it the “weekend effect.” I like black hole better.

The study leader said the injuries presenting on weekends were no worse, but the difference in how hospitals operate was worse.

Fewer staff members--and many more weekend sports injuries and the like.

The study also mentioned “delays” in getting specialists to the hospital on Sat and Sun. Delays—yeah—they won’t come.

Soooo…fall off a roof or stumble over a rug—crapshoot!

Oh, well--uncertainty and risk keep life interesting, right?

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