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Why You Should Avoid Going to the Hospital on Weekends, at Night, or on a Holiday

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

When it comes to emergency care, you don’t always have a choice on timing. If you’re seriously injured, seek out medical care as quickly as possible. If you do have a choice, however, consider waiting until Monday morning or after a holiday. Unfortunately, more mistakes are made in hospitals on weekends, nights, and holidays than at any other time of year, and as a consequence, you may find yourself in need of a birth injury attorney or a medical malpractice lawyer.

Weekends, nights, and holidays in hospitals come with increased risk factors, including a smaller staff, fill-in or inexperienced staff, sleep deprivation, and quicker discharge of patients. Known colloquially as the “Weekend Effect,” mortality rates, birth injury rates, and readmission rates rise significantly for patients who are admitted to a hospital during these particularly risky timeframes.

The Weekend Effect

The Weekend Effect can be found in more than just hospitals. If you visit most businesses late at night, on the weekend, or on a holiday, you may find the staff to be fewer and the service to be slower. The service levels drop even more when a lot of people decide to visit the business at the same time, which sometimes occurs in hospitals, too.

Not only does the lower staff numbers impact service in a hospital, but the increase in the number of patients around certain holidays or events also affects service. For example, there is a spike in the number of patient visits to the emergency room around the Fourth of July, due to injuries with fireworks, outdoor events, and sports and alcohol-related injuries. Unfortunately, many regular doctors and nurses are also on vacation during this holiday, so stand-in staff is left to deal with the influx of patients.

Access to diagnostic services is also more delayed or scarce over these time periods, which can lead to a delay in critical, sometimes life-saving treatment for patients. According to a 2015 study, an 8-year-long examination of admissions of stroke patients to hospitals in England found a 19% higher mortality rate for patients who were admitted on a weekend.

Teaching vs. non-teaching hospitals

Another factor to take into consideration is the kind of hospital you are visiting. New cohorts of residents to a teaching hospital typically arrive in July. During this period, as residents adjust to the schedule and environment and their learning curve, mothers are 2.2 times more likely to experience a birth complication.

Coupling this disturbing statistic with the fact that women who give birth over the holidays are 30% more likely to experience a birth complication, and this becomes an overwhelming problem that many hospitals have yet to proactively investigate and fix.

Causes of birth injuries

Birth injuries can be caused by a multitude of factors, but the rise in maternal complications during risky time periods at the hospital has a link to an increase in birth injuries. Delayed births are the primary factor of birth injuries. Delayed birth leads to long-term compression of the baby’s brain and spinal cord, which can cause oxygen deprivation, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Autism, and ADHD.

Another risk factor for birth injury is sustained oxygen deprivation. This can happen if the umbilical cord is being compressed or becomes prolapsed, or if the baby’s lungs are not fully developed. Some causes of oxygen deprivation relate to the health condition of the mother, such as preeclampsia or over-medicating. Oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage, developmental disorders, and physical handicaps.

Birth injuries can also happen as a result of difficult or mismanaged deliveries. These kinds of physical injuries include bruising, broken bones, and lacerations. Broken bones usually need to be reset and may require surgery. If the break is severe enough, it may affect the baby for his or her lifetime.

Medical malpractice can play a factor in delayed births, oxygen deprivation, and physical birth injuries. The risk for encountering medical malpractice and preventable errors rises significantly on the weekends, holidays, and nighttime hours for mothers and their babies.

birth injury attorney

Birth injury litigation

If you believe your child experienced a birth injury as a result of mismanagement or negligence at the hospital, seek out a birth injury attorney to help, you look over your case. Your attorney will examine contributing factors, including the time period you visited the hospital, the qualifications of the attending staff, and your recollection of your experience.

Your medical attorney will also request copies of your medical records, which will include any measures taken to ensure a safe and proper birth during your pregnancy, labor, and post-labor time period. Your attorney will also consult with their medical experts to ensure that your case displays the signs of a preventable birth injury incident.

Eileen Kroll is a registered nurse and attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. who will help you navigate the complex legal system to seek justice for you and your child. Eileen has successfully tried and settled birth injury cases for millions of dollars. In fact, our firm recovered over $15 million for a Monroe, Michigan family. Similarly, you may be entitled to seek reimbursement for medical bills, long-term care, pain and suffering, and future care for your child.

For a no obligation case evaluation, please call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW. Our team is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered devastating losses as a result of injuries, disabilities, and death.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she's not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn's writing center.



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