Trauma patients survive better on weekend

March 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, March 22 (UPI) -- Patients who are shot or stabbed or in vehicle crashes are more likely to live if they are treated at a trauma center on the weekend, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Dr. Brendan G. Carr, an assistant professor in the departments of emergency medicine and biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and senior author Douglas J. Wiebe studied 90,461 patients who were treated from 2004 to 2008 at Pennsylvania's 32 accredited trauma centers.

About one-quarter of the patients arrived at the hospital emergency room weeknights -- 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday -- and about 40 percent arrived on weekends -- 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. on Monday.

In addition to the survival-related findings, neither the weekend or night patient group experienced delays for crucial brain or abdominal surgeries often required for trauma patients, compared to weekday patients.

Nationwide, trauma patients are cared for by a regionalized system with around-the-clock staffing and capabilities for emergency medicine, radiology, surgery, and post-operative intensive care.

Unlike most other medical and surgical specialties, which vary on nights and weekends, trauma centers are required to have these resources immediately available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the researchers say.

The findings are published in the Archives of Surgery.

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