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Which Day of the Week Should You Schedule a Surgery?

Which Day of the Week Should You Schedule a Surgery?

Next time you schedule a surgery, try to set the date for a Monday or Tuesday. Hospital research suggests that patients who undergo surgery on the weekend or late in the week have a higher risk of dying than those who go under the knife earlier in the week.

The difference is nothing to sneeze at, either. Patients were 44% more likely to die after having a surgery on a Friday than a Monday. That rate nearly doubles to 82% for patients who have surgery on the weekend rather than Monday.

Before freaking out, itís important to realize that people arenít dying left and right after weekend surgeries. In the study, less than 1% of the total patients passed away within a month after their operations. However, itís the significant difference in the death rates between Monday and late week patients that may have would-be surgery-goers consider their calendars more carefully.

For three years, researchers monitored patients who entered United Kingdom hospitals to receive elective surgery. Though previous research has also indicated a higher mortality rate for people who elect to have weekend surgeries, this is the first substantial study to show that late weekdays like Friday also carry a higher risk for patients.

Unfortunately, the study can only show correlation and not causation. However, that doesnít stop the researchers from making educated guesses as to why this increase in fatalities occurs. They speculate that hospitalsí weekend staffs arenít always as up to snuff as doctors present during the week. Not only do the experts believe that hospitals are more understaffed on weekends, but they note that the more experienced medical professionals tend to choose a conventional work schedule, leaving their greener coworkers to take the weekend shifts.

Additionally, doctors who have a weekend off to rest and refresh are probably more mentally and physically prepared for surgeries on Mondays. As the week wears on, surgeons are probably facing increased rates of stress and tiredness, which could impact their performance on the job.

On the other hand, the weight of the week also likely impacts the patients themselves. The tiredness and stress thatís mounted by the end of the week certainly doesnít leave patients in peak condition prior to their surgeries. Moreover, some patients may intentionally delay operations longer than they should to correspond with their days off, which could also have a slight effect on the surgeriesí outcomes.

At the end of the day, the most important factors in your health care remain choosing qualified professionals to treat you and addressing medical problems promptly as they arise. That said, if you should ever be presented with a choice when scheduling a surgery, early week appointments may be advice worth keeping in the back of your mind.

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62 comments

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1:07PM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

ty

6:16AM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

Makes sense. Ealier in the week, hospital staff may be completely revitalized from a relaxing weekend.

11:43PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

This has been known for a while. The best way to survive any surgical or medical procedure is to relax and not stress. All the energy can then go towards recovery.

10:51PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Thanks ----for the tip !!! Never go to the hospital on a Fri or wk-end.

10:42PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

good to know

10:04PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Junior staff works weekends, while senior staff gets weekdays. This is true not just for doctors and nurses but for the people sterilizing the equipment and cleaning the ORs. Staffing levels are higher weekdays than weekends as well. Put it all together, and it certainly could have an effect.

One thing the author doesn't mention is that bad car wrecks, stabbings and shootings occur more often on weekends, so the smaller staff has more honest to God trainwrecks to cope with, and that too takes it's toll.

9:13PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Good to know.

8:17PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Noday sounds good to me if at all possible. Many hospitals in the US are a disgrace. My dad had successful surgery in a hospital. But a few days later he was dead from not one but two different bacterial infections inflicted upon him during this surgery---unnecessary infections if proper sanitary protocol had been followed.

7:26PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Used to say 'never buy a car made Wed-Sat' either.

6:17PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Hung over Monday? No way. Tuesday or Wednesday are fine by my surgeries so far.

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