It’s scary to think that you may not receive the same quality of care if you visit the hospital over the weekend instead of during the week. Unfortunately, some patients have discovered the so-called “weekend effect” the hard way.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines the weekend effect as “the purportedly increased risk of adverse outcomes for patients who are admitted to the hospital on the weekends.” Studies have found that weekend admissions to the hospital were associated with a 19% relative increase in the risk of death compared to weekday admissions. The correlation was present across a variety of different diagnoses. 

If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to a medical procedure, a Florida medical malpractice lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help. Read on to learn more about the weekend effect and how a medical malpractice lawyer can help after an injury that resulted from it. Call (561) 655-1990 now to learn more.

Researchers have found a concerning trend

Research conducted by the AHRQ has concluded that the weekend effect appears to result in worse clinical outcomes, and is specifically associated with:

  • Pulmonary embolism;
  • Stroke;
  • Certain surgical conditions; and
  • Acute coronary syndrome. 

The duty of hospitals to provide quality care doesn’t go away on the weekends. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice due to the weekend effect, connecting with a local medical malpractice attorney is the only way to protect your rights, and collect the benefits you’re entitled to. 

People checking in over the weekend are more likely to die within 30 days

The weekend effect has been found to be a real phenomenon, proven by research conducted over multiple years, in many nations, across a broad variety of hospitals. Due to employees with lower levels of experience, as we’ll discuss below, patients face increased dangers over the weekend. There is a proven link between weekend admission to the emergency room and death within 30 days after the hospital visit. 

A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that mortality outcomes for patients admitted over the weekend for either an emergency or an elective surgery experienced a higher mortality rate in the following 30 days than for weekday admissions for the same procedure.

The risk of experiencing a medical malpractice injury for certain conditions simply by experiencing an unexpected emergency on the weekend is an unfortunate risk that visitors to the emergency room face. Healthcare professionals, like everyone else, prefer to have the weekend off, which can make staffing experienced employees with seniority especially difficult on the weekends. 

Hospitals that have residents may perform better than those without

During the weekends, hospitals often have lower levels of staffing available. Further, hospitals are also more likely to have less experienced staff working on the weekends. This is something most people can understand, as weekends off at work are generally given to employees with seniority. When it comes to hospitals, this can lead to both inadequate assessment of patients, and inadequate monitoring for complications. 

Medical practice happens when a healthcare provider violates their duty to provide you with the standard of care you’re entitled to in a given procedure. When a hospital fails to identify dangerous conditions and further harm results, that standard of care has not been met. The failure to effectively monitor for complications that lead to further injury is also an instance of medical malpractice that could entitle you to compensation. 

If you have an emergency, go to the hospital, but consider which hospital you go to.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) conducted research that aligned with prior findings about the weekend effect. The BMJ further noted that, while it happens across nations, the service delivery model of hospitals does have an impact on the risk of experiencing the weekend effect. If you have an emergency, it’s essential to pursue emergency medical care to treat your condition. When you do so, however, carefully consider which hospital you visit, as the service delivery style and weekend staffing practices can vary. 

Think you might not have received quality care at a hospital? Our firm can help.

If you or a loved one has experienced an injury while receiving care at a hospital, you could be entitled to compensation for the associated costs and damages. These bills can include medical expenses like follow-up surgeries that are needed, treatments, rehabilitation, medications, and all other costs that result from the medical malpractice injury. Additionally, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages, as well as any negative impact on your earnings potential that the injuries result in. In some instances, damages for pain and suffering are also available to cover any negative change in your quality of life due to your medical malpractice injury. 

Do not directly accuse your hospital or medical practitioners of malpractice. It’s best to simply request a full record of your procedure from the hospital, and then contact an attorney. Making accusations can result in the hospital making it difficult to acquire evidence. Your attorney will collect evidence on your behalf to prove liability, and then accurately and completely measure the damages associated with your medical malpractice injury. 

The hospital’s medical malpractice insurance company will generally be responsible for paying your damages. It’s important to understand that the insurance company doesn’t work for you, they work for a profit. Profit is increased by denying whichever claims they can, and by paying as little as possible on those claims that they do approve. If you have been offered a settlement, speak with an attorney first to ensure you receive the full amount you’re entitled to.

Your attorney will step in and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company, holding them accountable for your full damages. The medical malpractice attorneys from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have the expertise and experience to achieve the best possible outcome on your case. For a risk-free, cost-free discussion about your experience, schedule a consultation or give us a call at (561) 655-1990.