If You Go To The Hospital This Weekend, You’re Probably Going To Die

Illustration for article titled If You Go To The Hospital This Weekend, You’re Probably Going To Die

And no, it's not because of the rapture.

A recent study has shown that U.S. patients who are admitted to the hospital during the weekend are "10 percent more likely to die than those who check in during the week".

The study was based on a sampling of "nearly 30 million people" and found that up to 25,000 of them died because of "admission on a weekend":

Author of the study, Dr. Rocco Ricciardi of Tufts University Medical School, said the research is based on a sample of close to 30 million people who were admitted to hospitals in 35 states over a five year period.

He and his colleagues found that 2.7 per cent of the people admitted during the weekend died while in the hospital, while only 2.3 percent of those admitted on a weekday died.

It is not the first study to uncover a 'weekend effect.' Previous research has shown such an effect for patients admitted after a heart attack, a blood clot in a lung, a ruptured abdominal artery and all kinds of strokes.


But not everyone agrees with the doctor whose name sounds unfortunately similar to Ricky Ricardo:

Dr Raman Khanna, at the University of California at San Francisco, who was not involved in the study, said: 'Either the patients coming to the hospital on weekends are sicker or else the hospital is doing a worse job of treating them.'

So more people are dying on the weekends than during the week. That could make sense.

Perhaps more people are admitted during the weekend and the hospitals are understaffed. It's horribly unfortunate if that's the case, but its fairly understandable.


But wait! There's more! And it's called "The Reason You Should Never Go To The Hospital On The Weekend Or During July Or Pretty Much Ever", also known as the "July Effect":

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego found that fatal medication errors rose 10 percent in July in counties with teaching hospitals.

David P. Phillips, the sociology professor who led the analysis, said July is the month that just-graduated medical residents start their new jobs, leading to mistakes caused by inexperience.


Basically, if I read this correctly (and I'm preeeetty certain I did), if you can avoid getting sick during that month —or during the roughly 48 weekends a year— you probably won't die. Ever.

Hope that helps!

Dying for the weekend: 25,000 U.S. patients die each year because they went to hospital on a Saturday or Sunday

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The "patients are sicker" point is important — I'm a public health researcher, and I've heard amazing stories of people waiting two or three DAYS before going to the hospital with clear symptoms of a heart attack. They don't want to miss work, they don't think its a big deal, they think their symptoms will go away on their own, they're afraid of doctors, they don't want to wait in the emergency room.... and there's a lot less a hospital can do for you after you've been having a heart attack for three days.