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Surgeries On Friday Are More Frequently Fatal

timothy posted about a year ago | from the saturday-sunday-happy-days dept.

Medicine 152

antdude writes "A British Medical Journal (BMJ) research report says that 'Surgeries on Friday Are More Frequently Fatal ... compared to those who opt for really bad Mondays, Britons who have a planned surgery on a Friday are 44 percent more likely to die. And the few patients who had a leisurely weekend surgery saw that number jump to 82 percent. The skeleton staff working on weekends might be to blame.'"

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152 comments

Car Analogy (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43889531)

It's like how cars made on Friday have more defects. People are tired after a long week and just want the day to end so they can get the weekend party started.

Re:Car Analogy (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43889969)

Odd, I thought “Blue” Mondays was the worst day, with all of the workers recovering from the weekend – in particular alcohol consumption.

This was at least true during the 70s. Everybody agreed that Wednesday cars were the best.

Re:Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890819)

Odd, I thought “Blue” Mondays was the worst day, with all of the workers recovering from the weekend – in particular alcohol consumption.

This was at least true during the 70s. Everybody agreed that Wednesday cars were the best.

"Everybody" agreed?

I'm curious, in the car-buying world, who exactly is this "everyone" you speak of, as I've yet to find a car dealership with the cars arranged by day of manufacture...not like the people they're making them for get a damn choice.

Re:Car Analogy (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43890843)

I had a uncle who worked at GM from the 50 to the 70s as a troubleshooter for production issues. (Got his engineering degree first, then later his MBA – back when such things mattered.). I also know some ex Ford line workers from the same era. So, yeah, it's anecdotal – but it is coming from two different sources. And no, it would be rare for a person to be able to pick the day the car was made.

Re:Car Analogy (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#43891205)

I had a uncle who worked at GM from the 50 to the 70s as a troubleshooter for production issues. (Got his engineering degree first, then later his MBA – back when such things mattered.). I also know some ex Ford line workers from the same era. So, yeah, it's anecdotal – but it is coming from two different sources. And no, it would be rare for a person to be able to pick the day the car was made.

Why? The date of manufacture is on the federal identification sticker in the door.

Re:Car Analogy (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43891315)

Exactly. Don't make any plans for Surgery, Tech Support etc on Monday's or Friday's. On Monday's, most people are recovering from hangovers and parties and on Friday's everybody is in a rush for the weekend. There is definitely some truth in all of this, even from my own personal experiences.

Re:Car Analogy (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about a year ago | (#43890851)

Perhaps since its a Friday, surgeons actively avoid scheduling easy, routine surgeries. The surgeries that would take place would then be more risky emergency surgeries. The percentage number of fatalities would be higher as a result.

Re:Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890915)

It's like how cars made on Friday have more defects. People are tired after a long week and just want the day to end so they can get the weekend party started.

As if you can make a car in just one day.

Correlation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889535)

I would assume urgent surgeries have higher fatality rates, and they are the ones that may get crammed in on the weekends and Friday nights.

That said, there might be some causal relation (but the study is just correctional), and it makes sense to look into it. However, currently there isn't enough evidence to make me try and avoid late week surgery.

Re:Correlation (4, Informative)

gazbo (517111) | about a year ago | (#43889637)

The study only looked at elective surgery, not urgent surgery.

Good (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about a year ago | (#43889879)

The study only looked at elective surgery, not urgent surgery.

Good, since those are the ones we can best change the outcome of by rescheduling them.

Complications can arise during recovery, especially after a complicated surgery or if the hospital isn't perfect. If complications arise on a weekend, the doctors and staff who could not get the time off are the ones working, and the staff are less willing to call the doctors. (These are generalizations, and of course vary from hospital to hospital.)

This is the exact reason why you NEVER schedule elective surgery on major holidays or between Christmas and New Years.

Re:Good (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43890055)

If you make a big line in the airport for bomb-checks, you've moved the killing location from the plane to the airport waiting line.
Likewise, if you move the Friday surgeries to Thursday such that Thursday is the new day before the end of the work week, then Thursday might exhibit the same death rates.

Re:Good (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43890361)

If you make a big line in the airport for bomb-checks, you've moved the killing location from the plane to the airport waiting line.

Likewise, if you move the Friday surgeries to Thursday such that Thursday is the new day before the end of the work week, then Thursday might exhibit the same death rates.

Also, craming the same number of surgeries into fewer days is going to increase pressures, which tends to increase mistakes.

Re:Good (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#43890707)

Moving surgery to Thursday does not immediately make Friday a day off for surgeons. Thinking that cutting people open with a knife is the only thing a surgeon does is like thinking that typing in code is all that a software developer does.

Re:Good (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43890785)

But it's the most stressful thing they do. They might look forward to a stress-free Friday, making Thursday dangerous.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43891351)

True, the real thing to learn is probably that surgeons need another day off to rest.

Re:Correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890927)

The study only looked at elective surgery, not urgent surgery.

Yeah, you're right. It's probably worse with urgent surgery, which due to the stress of the job and long hours, your chances of death are only bad on days that end with "y".

Gee, I feel so much better now...

Re:Correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43891253)

Ok then, my analysis was incorrect. Thanks for the correction.

Re:Correlation (4, Funny)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about a year ago | (#43889659)

However, currently there isn't enough evidence to make me try and avoid late week surgery.

I'm so glad there are still a few people brave enough to be operated on on Fridays. We can call it "correlation is not causation" day, or "I won't believe it until Saint Peter himself confirms it".

Re:Correlation (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43889677)

Hopefully a large amount of people continue to elect for Friday surgery keeping the rest of the days safer for us all. Or we would have to institute some kind of National selection committee for mandating Friday surgeries for the good of all the citizens.

Re:Correlation (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43890215)

Hopefully a large amount of people continue to elect for Friday surgery keeping the rest of the days safer for us all.

A better solution might be to schedule minor, non-life-threatening surgeries on Friday. So the heart transplants would be done on Tuesdays, and Friday left open for the nose jobs.

Re:Correlation (0)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43889807)

It is now official. BMJ has confirmed: your patient is dying

        One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered surgical staff when BMJ confirmed that your patients blood pressure has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of healthy systolic pressure. Coming on the heels of a recent BMJ survey which plainly states that your patient has lost consciousness, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. your patients vital signs are collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent patient wheelchair racing competition.

        You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin to predict your patients future. The hand writing is on the wall: your patient faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for your patient because your patient is dying. Things are looking very bad for your patient. As many of us are already aware, your patient continues to lose red corpuscules. His aorta spurts a river of blood.

        Your patient is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of his braincells. The sudden and unpleasant departures of organs like kidney and and liver only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: your patient is dying.

Re:Correlation (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | about a year ago | (#43891299)

I don't know whether to applaud you, or to cry because so few posters recognize the beautiful testament to the "Netcraft confirms it" posts...

ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889557)

How about Wednesday?

Statistics can be misleading (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889559)

On Question Time Anna Soubry (Under-Secretary of State for Health) said that some doctors schedule more at-risk surgeries on a Friday because then they will be able to deal with the patient during the weekend when they don't have surgeries planned. You do need to be careful when you want to find explanations for statistics like these. Your immediate reaction can easily be wrong.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43889701)

Yes, and the same thing about weekend surgeries. If it can't wait until Monday it means it's critical and life-threatening, which of course is highly correlated with dying. If you want real stats you have to go procedure by procedure and compare similar cases, like acute [whatever] operated immediately on a weekday compared to the same condition, same operation on a weekend.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#43889761)

If you want real stats you have to go procedure by procedure and compare similar cases

Which, amazingly, is exactly what the authors of the paper did. It's open-access; click the link and read it for yourself.

Oh, wait, I forgot. On Slashdot, scientists are morons and people who read an article on a pop-sci site a month ago know everything, and any use of statistics can and must instantly be banished with the Words Of Power, Which I Will Not Utter Here.

On Fox News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890003)

On Slashdot, if something has not been reported and approved as the Gospel Truth by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, it must not be true.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43890091)

The summary does make it sound like these are raw numbers being quoted (44% and 82% more likely to die), but you're right, the actual study, which the summary should've summarized better, gives something more specific:

Compared with Monday, the adjusted odds of death for all elective surgical procedures was 44% and 82% higher if the procedures were carried out on Friday or at the weekend, respectively

That is, they both 1) adjusted for (at least some) other factors that predict outcomes; and 2) limited their analysis to elective surgical procedures, i.e. they did not include emergency weekend surgeries.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43890115)

Oh, wait, I forgot. On Slashdot, scientists are morons and people who read an article on a pop-sci site a month ago know everything, and any use of statistics can and must instantly be banished with the Words Of Power, Which I Will Not Utter Here.

Fact is that many people are very bad as statistics, including many people writing scientific papers. And yes, there are scientists who are morons.

In this case, I cannot find what percentage of elective surgery was performed on Fridays, but 4.5% was performed on Saturdays and Sundays (that was mentioned to explain why these two days were combined in the statistics). Since with random selecction of days 28% of surgery would be performed on Saturday / Sunday but in reality there is only 4.5%, this strongly suggests that patients having selective surgery on weekends are not a random selection of all patients. I couldn't find numbers about the percentage of cases on Friday.

Re: Statistics can be misleading (3, Informative)

kurthr (30155) | about a year ago | (#43889839)

These are scheduled elective surgeries, not emergency admissions!

Our analysis confirms our overall study hypothesis (with some heterogeneity) of a âoeweekday effectâ on mortality for patients undergoing elective surgeryâ"that is, a worse outcome in terms of 30 day mortality for patients who have procedures carried out closer to the end of the week and at the weekend itself. The reasons behind this remain unknown, but we know that serious complications are more likely to occur within the first 48 hours11 after an operation, and a failure to rescue the patient could be due to well known issues relating to reduced and/or locum staffing (expressed as number and level of experience) and poorer availability of services over a weekend.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#43889721)

On Question Time Anna Soubry (Under-Secretary of State for Health) said that some doctors schedule more at-risk surgeries on a Friday because then they will be able to deal with the patient during the weekend when they don't have surgeries planned.

They control for the type of procedure, so you can rule out the obvious confounding factor of scheduling procedures that are inherently more dangerous for later in the week. It doesn't tell you about the differences between the individual patients, of course ("this hip replacement's going to much trickier than that one, so I'll do it on Friday") but the numbers do not provide any evidence for the hypothesis that this kind of schedule-shuffling is going on. Comparing between types of procedures, the numbers for risk (Table 1, toward the bottom) look pretty flat, with the obvious (and unsurprising) exception that procedures performed on the weekend tend to be lower risk. Between Mondays and Fridays, there's essentially no difference at all.

You do need to be careful when you want to find explanations for statistics like these.

Stupid researchers! They never thought of that! [rolls eyes]

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

aflag (941367) | about a year ago | (#43889809)

Moreover, they have found in other studies that emergency surgeries over the weekend are more likely to result in death than on other days of the week. So the hypothesis that it could be explained simply because of how doctors schedule surgeries can be ruled out. Besides, it seems that care over the weekend is actually poorer than care during the week days. So it seems like surgeon would not want to schedule trickier surgeries over friday. Also, the surgeon himself would like to rest over the weekend, so it is more likely that he would want the opposite. It seems that he would like to do surgeries that are less likely to result in complications on Friday.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#43889859)

My theory is that the shitty doctors and nurses and up working the weekends, because if they were actually decent at their job they wouldnt have ended up with the least popular days of the week.

Probably they will find in the case of emergency procedures, that the night crew also does poorly.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43889937)

No, you're missing the obvious inference here.

The only major difference between weekdays and weekends is that the administrative staff is gone by Friday at 1400. Thus, quid pro quo and all that;

Administrators are needed for safe surgery.

Who the hell knew?

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43890077)

Maybe bureaucracy has a healing aura...?

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43890353)

Red tape makes wonderful sutures, apparently.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43890713)

Now we know why red tape is red.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

hrvatska (790627) | about a year ago | (#43890371)

I would say you are wrong. Nurses who work more weekends or off shifts tend to do so for three reasons.

Family reasons, either child care or the need to care for some other family member.
Money, some hospitals have attractive shift differentials.
New grads just starting out. But in no way does new mean shitty.

Night shifts in hospitals do tend to have more errors. When they look into it it's because the nurses are tired. People make more mistakes when they are tired. Most nurses who work night shift still have friends and family who socialize during normal hours. For a nurse who regularly works third shift it can be exhausting trying to attend social events planned around the day shift schedules and still get enough sleep to be rested for work.

Re: Statistics can be misleading (1)

kurthr (30155) | about a year ago | (#43889763)

So can explanations of statistics... if the emergency staff available at the hospital is lacking, it won't matter that the surgeon is there. Also, it doesn't explain why those entering on Saturday are worse than those on Friday!
Sounds bites from question time are, just that...

Re:Statistics can be misleading (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43889851)

Either that of she didn't want to admit that she is responsible for a service where surgeons are overworked to the point of failing patients.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889985)

Pretty sure she made that bizarre excuse up off the top of her head because it's total crap.

The consultant who does your surgery on the Friday is unlikely to be working the weekend, unless he just happens to be the one on call for that speciality. Which is the case of general surgery (vs. say ophthalmology) means covering a lot of patients and all new emergency admissions - so not going to be spending a lot of time at your bedside. Whereas if he does it Monday he's likely to be around till Friday and a lot of the time will be spent in clinics or such and not too busy so as to be able to look in on you from time to time. That same consultant is also likely to have a registrar and a couple of junior doctors working for him during the week directly looking after his patients, some doctors of the team will be present on the ward pretty much all the time. At the weekend, there is likely to be 1 registrar and 1 or 2 juniors covering the whole of surgery in the hospital. After doing the morning ward round the juniors are left with a big list of jobs to do and responding to nurses wanting fluids/meds prescribed or patients reviews all over the hospital. If you have 2 doctors looking after patients normally looked after by 20 doctors on a weekday how well do you think that works out? It's not exactly ideal for the patients and they're 13 hour shifts from hell for the doctors. So I do not think any right minded surgeon schedules higher risk procedures/patients for Friday. In fact at my hospital we do far fewer ops on a Friday than any other weekday and correspondingly fewer of those are pre-booked into higher dependency beds for post-op care.

Dr AC (don't normally post as AC) - Junior Doctor at fairly large very modern NHS hospital (~1200 beds, ~40 theatres)

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about a year ago | (#43890089)

I haven't run into a specialist yet that does any meaningful work past Wednesday. It's mostly golf the rest of the week.

Maybe the 'who ever is left' category of people who are left at the end of the week aren't so good at surgeries.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890137)

Yes, your immediate reaction to a headline before bothering to RTFA is most likely wrong. For instance, had you read more than the summary, you would have known that the authors of the study actually controlled by factors like risk of the procedure and in general were way more statistically sophisticated than what a 5 sentence summary suggests.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890243)

My wife ended up in the ICU because of a Friday surgery. There was a minor complication that could have been sorted out on Saturday morning but it turn into a nearly deadly situation because the docs on for the weekend has no experience with the procedure. They made some assumptions and missed opportunities to take corrective action.

In the US most surgeons schedule morning surgeries so they can do rounds and follow-ups in the afternoon. In the US most surgeons start at $750K/year (minium guarantee) with several specialties making almost $2m/year. The docs don't like working weekends and in a large hospital they usually have a bare bones rotating schedule of surgeons and docs for the weekend.

This differs from other parts of the world were an Operating Room may run at all hours of the day and night and doctors don't make nearly as much money. This also contributes to the high cost of care in the US because expensive resources like operatings rooms and $1M+ diagnostics equipment are used for only a small part of the day. Which is why an MRI in the US is 10X the cost of an MRI in other parts of world with similar costs of living.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890911)

I am a surgeon.

I agree with your first paragraph completely. I do not know your wife's situation, but I have seen similar scenarios and this one is realistic.

Most surgeons try to schedule surgeries in the morning so that they have a set schedule. If they are running behind, all they can do is look at the mirror to blame someone. If you try to schedule an afternoon surgery, you are typically "following" another surgeon. This means you have no schedule because surgery timing is unpredictable. If you are scheduled for 1pm, you may not get to start until 6pm. Nobody wants to do this routinely. And ORs routinely run behind schedule.

I completely disagree with your salary figures. Those numbers are certainly possible and not completely unheard of. But they are absolutely nowhere near average. There may be certain types of subspecialists who start at that range, particularly in a rural area. But absolutely not general surgeons as you imply or even the majority of subspecialists.

Finally, in the US since healthcare is a for-profit business, we are actually pretty good at keeping MRI machines well utilized. Many are scheduled 24/7. Inpatient scheduled studies will be done during nighttime hours and outpatient studies during normal business hours.

A major factor limiting OR utilization is related to staffing issues. You need to pay nurses overtime if you want them to work nights and weekends. There are many surgeons who would prefer to start first thing in the morning every Saturday instead of following another surgeon on random weekdays, but the staffing isn't there to support it.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43890297)

Now they just need to find a way to offload the blame for lopping off the wrong body part, performing the wrong surgery, or leaving objects in patients. I'm sure they can find a convoluted way to blame the patient or something.

Re:Statistics can be misleading (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about a year ago | (#43890781)

I couldn't agree more. Also, I'd assume that workcoholic people or people with higher work stress will delay their surgeries to reduce time-off the work. Those delays may cause a higher spike of higher risk people trying to get their surgery done on Friday.

Another shocking statistic (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43889563)

Approximately 2/5 (two fifths!) of sick days are taken on Mondays and Fridays! Obviously the implication is that the slack workers aren't really sick, but are taking the day off to coincide with the weekend!

---

I'm not going to book surgery on any day other than a Wednesday. Unless I want to die I guess.

Re:Another shocking statistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889661)

>Obviously the implication is that the slack workers aren't really sick, but are taking the day off to coincide with the weekend!

I'm going to disagree with you there. I am more likely to take a Friday or Monday sick when I am sick because people at work are more understanding and there is less going on because they are often taking Friday off. Further, I am 2/7ths likely to get sick on a sat or sun, leading to monday off. If I get sick on a Tues or Wed, I am likely to go to work sick because I can't afford to miss those days.

Re: Another shocking statistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889915)

At Stanford hospital nurses lose their promotional status (pay difference 10s of $k) by having three days of absence in a rolling quarter.
Yes, they are encouraged to work sick!?

Re: Another shocking statistic (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year ago | (#43890045)

Yes. It's an ingenious plan to drum up repeat business.

Re:Another shocking statistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889765)

I'll bet there's a lot of fifths taken the day before those sick days...

Re:Another shocking statistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889893)

I see what you did there.

The solution is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889569)

Schedule the surgeries for Thursday and give doctors a break on Friday!

The staff are dead as well?! (5, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#43889587)

The skeleton staff working on weekends might be to blame.

Re:The staff are dead as well?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890197)

Only the weekends staff. When the mortals have their weekend, the skeletons take over.

Re:The staff are dead as well?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890747)

Well, they are obviously just trying to convert more people to the cause. Mystery solved. Thanks Scoob.

I always thought illness killed people (0)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43889607)

not day of the week. People are more likely to injure themselves on their own time. That probably explains most of the difference.

Re:I always thought illness killed people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889669)

That would explain larger total number, but why larger percentage?

Re:I always thought illness killed people (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | about a year ago | (#43889723)

Maybe they injure themselves worse on the weekend?

Re:I always thought illness killed people (1)

lordDallan (685707) | about a year ago | (#43890169)

I had a similar thought, but the linked study indicates that it focused only on elective surgery, so I don't believe surgeries related to accident or recent injury were counted.

The paper seems to conclude that the weekend staff being smaller and less experienced may be the cause.

Re:I always thought illness killed people (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43889927)

Need to look at the death rate by day of week for the general population. If people in general are more likely to die on these days, then a higher mortality rate in surgery on these days is not as surprising as you may think.

My google-fu is lacking at the moment, but I seem to recall reading a study a few years ago which showed that among the general population there's a higher mortality rate on Fridays and Saturdays, too. Unfortunately, right now all I'm finding is a 1983 study done in Australia which showed that the perinatal and infant mortality rates follow this pattern.

Re:I always thought illness killed people (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43890999)

I'm not surprised about the infant mortality rates. Our son was delivered in hospital. My wife nearly didn't get anesthetics because the doctor had to leave for the weekend. Also, after 17:00 'o clock the number of available medical staff dropped drastically. There were, fortunately, no complications right then but if she had had them at 17:10, the doctor would have already left.

Stuff like that (not enough people on call) was identified as a factor in the infant mortality in The Netherlands last year. I don't know how it translates to Australia but if they have a lot of people delivering in hospitals, this might be a factor there as well.

Re:I always thought illness killed people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889941)

Wrong. It's elective surgery here, not urgent. Utter fail on your part, learn to read.

TGIF!!! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43889627)

No, you can thank him yourself... you'll be seeing him soon... if you've been good.

Or at 5 p.m. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889641)

Several years ago, after a stupid table-saw accident and an ER visit, I went to my doctor to have the wound check for healing. The ER nurse had clumsily wrapped my thumb and fingers with gauze (I came up with a much more elegant method, which looked neater, stayed on better, and could be accomplished with one hand -- but I digress...) Anyhow, she had also not put non-stick pads on the wounds before gauzing. The blood and pus had seeped into the gauze and hardened, making it difficult and painful to remove. After nearly two hours of soaking in warm water, trimming away parts of crusty gauze and repeating, only about half the gauze had been removed. It was 5 p.m., and the doctor came in, told me to clench my teeth, and ripped the rest off. It wasn't medically a bad thing to do, and I was glad to be out of there too, but the only reason he resorted to that was because it was quittin' time.

Re:Or at 5 p.m. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889887)

Yeah, I'd be sick of your whining when it was time for me to go home, too.

but tee are better! (2)

kurthr (30155) | about a year ago | (#43889665)

Most hospitals have restrictions on non- emergency surgeries over the weekend, because they have very limited staff.
However, surgeons are very powerful (especially those who do elective surgeries that bring in big $) and they often prefer to schedule surgeries around their own convenience rather than that of their patients or other hospital staff.

Stanford hip replacements are a known example.

Re: but tee times are better! (1)

kurthr (30155) | about a year ago | (#43889857)

Autocorrect

Nothing to see here, move along (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889673)

British : Check.
British research : Check.

Slashdot behind the news cycle (2)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about a year ago | (#43889689)

Lots of people have pointed out already that more complicated surgeries are scheduled for Fridays so doctors are fully available to deal with complications.

Re:Slashdot behind the news cycle (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43889925)

Interesting, but (and this a genuine question, not a glib attempt to undermine your statement) what does that mean for the even greater risk at weekends?

What kind of surgery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889747)

On weekends I expect to see more motor car accidents, stabbings, clubbings and shootings. Those have bad odds to survive compared to elective surgeries during the week.

I only buy products made with slave labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889779)

you don't have to worry about stuff made on a friday being lower quality

One day must be the worst (2)

Henriok (6762) | about a year ago | (#43889797)

I admit that I didn't read the article but I must point out that there is just seven days and one day must be the worst and one day must be the best. I happens to be the friday in the UK, it might be some other day in another country but there must always be one certain day that is the worst. Since there's only seven possible outcomes but an uncountable ammount of factors going in, good luck to figuring out what exacly is goong on.

Re:One day must be the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890233)

Yes, but the day that is the worst does not have to be SIGNIFICANTLY worse.

There is no guarantee that any day of the week will be SIGNIFICANTLY worse than all others.

Re:One day must be the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890457)

That's not true. They could all be statistically the same. It's not like you can have an infinite amount of precision and 0 margin of error. It's possible for all days of the week to fall within the same 95% confidence interval. Not only did you not read the paper, you don't know how statistics work.

Re: One day must be the worst (1)

kurthr (30155) | about a year ago | (#43890473)

You obviously haven't read the article which contains the graph showing that the risk of death due to elective surgery grows monotonically approaching the weekend. By the weekend, scheduled elective surgeries are almost twice as likely to kill you.
Two days are the worst, they are on the weekend, and the closer your surgery recovery is to the weekend the worse the expected outcome- 40%worse on Friday.

Read the fine documentation...

Re: One day must be the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890919)

Read the fine documentation...

Why bother since you've been nice enough to provide an executive summary?!

Simple reason (1)

geoskd (321194) | about a year ago | (#43889803)

I'll bet it has something to do with the fact that doctors like to take Fridays off. So by extension if they are doing surgery on a Friday (or god help you a weekend), whatever the issue is it must be life threatening, and most likely far more severe than a surgery that can wait until Monday: Hence more likely to get you killed, no matter the skill level of the surgeons or their team.

Re:Simple reason (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43889889)

By definition "elective surgery" is something that "can wait until Monday". So no.

Sick days (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a year ago | (#43889815)

In a shocking statistic, 40% of sickdays are taken on Fridays or Mondays... clearly slackers trying to extend their weekends.

We should try and stamp out this scourge on productivity everywhere!

Re:Sick days (1)

Jaktar (975138) | about a year ago | (#43890075)

We should try and stamp out this scourge on productivity everywhere!

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

Hrm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889903)

One of the self-admitted weaknesses of the article is that since it didn't have an at-risk patient profile to judge, they were unable to determine if it was more prone patients admitted on certain days or not.

I think this kind of data could help clarify the big question a lot of people have hanging over their heads.

For fuck's sake, Slashdot... (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43889923)

"A British Medical Journal (BMJ) research report says that 'Surgeries on Friday Are More Frequently Fatal ... compared to those who opt for really bad Mondays, Britons who have a planned surgery on a Friday are 44 percent more likely to die. And the few patients who had a leisurely weekend surgery saw that number jump to 82 percent. The skeleton staff working on weekends might be to blame.'"

You really need to decide where the quotes are supposed to go in this summary. I very much doubt that a BMJ report would ever use such glib phrases as "really bad Mondays" and "leisurely weekend surgery."

In fact I don't think anything in TFS has actually been quoted from the report, beyond individual words or numbers. So why is it in quotes? Or are they just random apostrophes?

Re:For fuck's sake, Slashdot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890201)

Random apostrophe's is the new fad.

Re:For fuck's sake, Slashdot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890237)

The quote in TFS was actually lifted from a separate article here [vice.com] . Someone just decided to change the link to the original BMJ article instead.

Re:For fuck's sake, Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890289)

Are you implying that the editors actually edited the submission for once, to give us the link to the original source instead of daft 3rd party rehash article? Blasphemy!

Also I think I saw this on Yahoo! like 4 days ago.

Re:For fuck's sake, Slashdot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890641)

Those are journalistic double-apostrophes. They're often confused with quotes, but they actually are meant to imply some artistic license in the phrase.

Especially true (1)

lolococo (574827) | about a year ago | (#43889931)

when on the 13th and the surgeon's name is Jason ...

Good enough for government work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889995)

Luckily, it is government work.

Solution to the problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890033)

Pay the doctors more money. Your failing socialist healthcare system is failing.

Also, aren't some patients SUPPOSED to die? Don't they have death panels where they decide to "accidentally" kill people that would cost the taxpayers too much money to keep alive?

Re:Not in America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890123)

This does not happen in the USA, but it does in Britain: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/12/04/britains-euthanasia-pathway-points-to-obamacares-death-panels/

Which coincidentally could help explain why so many people in the UK die on Fridays.

82% chance of dying?! I'll wait until monday (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#43890619)

Doctor: Sir, I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your heart is going to explode. We'll need to perform emergency surgery right away.
Patient: But....today is saturday! I don't wanna die - can it wait until monday?
Doctor: If you don't have it now there is a a 75% chance you will not live until monday
Patient: yea...I think I'll take my chances and wait until monday thank you very much

Re:82% chance of dying?! I'll wait until monday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43890917)

82% higher risk than Monday =/= 82% of death...

Misconceptions (1)

davesays (922765) | about a year ago | (#43890717)

I am IT staff at a hospital and end up working on the in-suite PCs alot since coworkers don't like being in a room with a patient open. The surgery schedule gets busier throughout the week with the busiest day being Thursday; at my hospital that is really the "Friday" of the OR. For reasons mentioned above only cases of eminent need are scheduled for Fridays and nothing on the weekend. If you are having surgery on a Friday or the weekend you are in a fairly grave state already. Also: All doctors, surgeons and staff do rotations and coverage; so "shitty doctors and nurses and up working the weekends" is not a reality.

Which kinds of surgery (2)

overshoot (39700) | about a year ago | (#43890879)

The skeleton staff working on weekends might be to blame

Yeah, but what if it isn't an orthopaedic surgery?

If we're talking about small rural or local hospitals, sure -- in part because these hospitals are at most feeders that stabilize patients before sending them to major hospitals. There's a world of difference between the rural hospital that's close to the mountain where I ski patrol and a Level 1 trauma (or cardiac, or stroke) center. The local hospital (which bills itself as a "regional medical center") doesn't even have an orthopaedic surgeon on duty on weekends. In contrast, less than 200 miles away are four cities with Level 1 trauma centers (altogether more than seven hospitals) including Barrows Neurological Hospital, Mayo Hospital, two university hospitals, and a top-notch limb reattachment hospital.

Having been married to a nurse who worked at most of the big ones, I can tell y'all that the staffing doesn't thin out on weekends.

Robots. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about a year ago | (#43891081)

Another example of why robotic surgeons should be a long term goal.

Re:Robots. (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#43891247)

Another example of why robotic surgeons should be a long term goal.

All that would accomplish is give Skynet yet another way to kill us.

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