03 November 2010
If you have the choice, don’t get admitted to hospital over the weekend. For some reason, hospitals don’t run as well, staff aren’t so efficient – and now a new study has discovered that stroke victims are more likely to die if they are brought in on a Saturday or Sunday.
Doctors have assumed that the higher death rate at weekends was due to the fact that only the most severe and serious cases were being admitted – but a new study has discovered that’s not the reason at all.
In a review of 11 stroke centres in Ontario, researchers have found that the severity of the stroke had nothing to do with survival rates. Irrespective of age, gender or stroke severity, patients admitted at the weekends had an 8.1 per cent risk of dying compared with a 7 per cent risk among those admitted during the week.
It’s a phenomenon that goes across most diseases, say the researchers. They aren’t sure what causes it, but they think it is to do with reduced hospital staffing, limited access to specialists and procedures done outside of regular hours.
(Source: Neurology, 2010; 75: 1589-96).