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Does Medical Malpractice Happen More During the Busy Holiday Season?

Correlation Between Time of Year and Malpractice Claims

The last way anyone wants to spend their holiday season is by being admitted into the hospital; still, thousands of people across the country are taken to the emergency room for holiday-related accidents each year. Unfortunately, recent studies indicate that these hospitalizations may result in more unfortunate circumstances. Read on to learn more.

What is the “Weekend Effect”?

A study published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine analyzed a phenomenon known as the "weekend effect," which compared emergency room visits on different days of the week to see if there is a direct correlation between mortality rate and weekend admission. In looking at 4.2 million cases (about 20% of all U.S. ER admissions), the team concluded that patients admitted on weekends have a higher mortality rate than those admitted on weekdays.

They analyzed this result against several different factors, including but not limited to:

  • Condition and diagnosis
  • Patient income
  • Un/insured
  • Hospital ownership

This was done to rule out extraneous characteristics that may have played into the difference in mortality rates. Ultimately, the results remained consistent regardless. The same effect has also been applied to studies comparing holiday periods to non-holiday periods with similar results.

How Does This Apply to Malpractice?

Although these studies have not concluded a direct connection to medical malpractice, holiday periods have been shown to affect receiving treatment. Whether it's due to staffing issues, less access to your primary care physician, sped-through appointments or inability to schedule one at all, patients who are severely injured or ill may be left waiting to be treated or discharged early. One study even found that those released between the Christmas and New Year's holidays had a 14% increase in the likelihood of death or readmittance.

In these instances, it very well may be likely to have a wrong diagnosis, incorrect aftercare instructions, or decreased access to getting your regular prescription filled.

Portland Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Our Angel Law, P.C. attorneys are dedicated to protecting those injured by medical malpractice. If you or a loved one are seeking legal representation, contact (503) 862-8666 to schedule a free consultation.

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