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Trauma patients safe from mortality risks associated with so-called 'weekend effect'
Date:1/22/2010

care when you are brought to a trauma center," says lead author Brendan G. Carr, MD, MA, MS, an assistant professor in the departments of Emergency Medicine and Biostatistics and Epidemiology. "The trauma system has been demonstrated to save lives. We suggest that an important piece of this mortality benefit may be the explicit requirement for uniform staffing and resources around the clock. Our findings extend well beyond trauma care, illustrating ways in which the emergency care system as a whole can be redesigned to take better care of the sickest, most vulnerable patients."

In the first study to examine whether trauma patients exhibit the so-called "weekend effect," Carr and his colleagues studied 4,382 trauma patients cared for at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2008. Thirty four percent arrived on weekends (defined as 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Monday), and 23 percent arrived at night (midnight to 6 a.m.). The researchers found that trauma patients presenting on nights and weekends were no more likely to die than those who arrived at the hospital during weekdays.

These findings held for both blunt traumas (car crashes, head injuries or beatings) and penetrating traumas (most often gunshot and knife wounds). In fact, patients who suffered blunt trauma injuries were less likely to die if they presented at night. Among other outcomes studied time patients spent on ventilators, length of stay in intensive care units, and overall hospital length of stay the findings showed that trauma patients who presented on nights and weekends may have fared slightly better than those who came to the hospital on weekdays.

"The take home point here is that among trauma patients, we don't see the troubling variability in outcomes based on time of presentation that occurs with other time-sensitive conditions," says the study's senior author, Patrick M. Reilly, MD, a professor of Surgery and vice-chief of the division of
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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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