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Trauma patients protected from worse outcomes associated with so-called 'weekend effect'
Date:3/21/2011

PHILADELPHIA -- Patients who've been hurt in car or bike crashes, been shot or stabbed, or suffered other injuries are more likely to live if they arrive at the hospital on the weekend than during the week, according to new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research published in the March 21 issue of Archives of Surgery. The findings, which also showed that trauma patients who present to the hospital on weeknights are no more likely to die than those who presented during the day, contrast with previous studies showing a so-called "weekend effect" in which patients with emergent illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes fare worse when they're hospitalized at night or on weekends.

The authors say the trauma system's unique organization and staffing appears to serve as a built-in protection for these critically injured patients, and may provide a roadmap for ongoing efforts to restructure and better coordinate U.S. emergency care, which needs to provide optimal care day or night.

"Whether patients have an emergent illness or a severe injury, the common denominator is time. Patients must rely on the system to quickly get them to the place that's best prepared to save their lives," says lead author Brendan G. Carr, MD, MS, an assistant professor in the departments of Emergency Medicine and Biostatistics and Epidemiology. "Trauma systems have been designed to maximize rapid access to trauma care, and our results show that the system also offers special protection for patients injured during periods that are known to be connected to worse outcomes among patients with time-sensitive illnesses."

Using data provided by the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, Carr and senior author Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD, an assistant professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, studied 90,461 patients who were treated from 2004 to 2008 at Pennsylvania's 32 accredited trauma centers. About a quarter of the patients presented to the
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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