A recent study by the Journal of Pediatric Surgery has found that emergency surgeries performed on children over a weekend result in many more complications and deaths than the same surgery done on weekdays.
The study looked at a large national database that compared 112,064-weekend operations – appendectomies, brain shunts, hernias, bone fractures, and abscess drainage procedures – performed on children below the age of 18, with 327,393 operations performed on weekdays.
Complications were found in about 1% of cases and less than .1% of the children died. When the study controlled for sex, age, race, the type of surgery, patients having a procedure on the weekend were:
- 40% more likely to suffer an accidental puncture or cut
- 14% more likely to receive a transfusion
- 63% more likely to die
Dr. Seth D. Goldstein, the lead author and a surgical resident at Johns Hopkins, said that “even though mortality was quite low if the weekend treatment had matched weekday treatment over the 20-year period of the study, about 50 deaths would have been prevented.”
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