When a person is ill or injured, most of them want to be treated as soon as possible. This is especially true for people who require urgent care, such as those with heart conditions. A recent study asserts that there may be benefits to waiting for care. Research shows that patients undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedure on a weekend are at a higher risk of succumbing to a fatal injury.
Commonly referred to as angioplasty, PCI is a procedure that relieves pressure caused by blocked or narrow arteries. It involves inserting a catheter into the patient and carefully moving it through the arteries to the heart. In some cases, a balloon may be used to inflate a narrow or blocked artery; if necessary, a stent, made of either metal or mesh, can be left in the artery to keep blood flowing.
Study Showed Significant Differences in Weekday and Weekend Procedures
Researchers examined data from 1.3 million PCI procedures performed across the country between 2004 and 2013, about one fifth of the total number of procedures performed. In that time period, weekend hospital stays for PCI increased from 12 percent of the total number of procedures to 21.5 percent. The research team found that the fatality rate of patients undergoing PCI was higher on the weekend versus during the week, two percent compared to one percent.
The rate of fatality was not the only increased risk for patients undergoing a PCI procedure on a weekend. The study found that weekend PCI patients stayed at the hospital for an average of four days, compared to three days for weekday operations. The costs of a weekend procedure were also approximately 20 percent higher, about $24,000 versus $20,000.
Researchers Concerned About Weekend Effect in Patient Care
While the findings are preliminary, they are statistically significant, and raise some serious concerns about the quality of care received by some patients. Researchers did not offer an explanation for the difference in patient outcomes, but they are hopeful that drawing attention to this discrepancy can help improve care for patients on weekends. Medical emergencies can occur at any time, and patients should be able to receive exceptional care whenever they need it. If standards of care are not being upheld 24 hours a day, seven days a week, practitioners could be guilty of physician negligence that may have disastrous consequences for patients.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Obtain Compensation for Victims of Hospital MalpracticeIf you or a loved one has suffered as a result of substandard hospital care, call the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if physician negligence was a factor in your injury or illness and hold the responsible party accountable. With offices conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, New Jersey, we help injured victims of hospital malpractice throughout the state. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online for a free consultation.