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The hidden dangers of weekend hospitalizations

Individuals who are impacted by a medical emergency don't have the luxury of choosing when the event occurs. When an individual suffers a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence and medical intervention is often necessary to stabilize an individual's condition and prevent further injury and harm.

Once an individual who has suffered a heart attack or stroke arrives at the hospital, most believe they will receive urgent medical care and attention. It turns out, however, that those individuals who are admitted to a hospital on the weekend may have a very different experience and ultimate outcome than those admitted during the week.

While certain medical emergencies warrant the immediate action and attention of doctors, nurses and specialists; patients whose condition is deemed stable or non-life threatening are often forced to wait until Monday to see certain specialists or for certain tests to be run and results examined.

Statistics show, however, that a delay in medical care puts patients at risk for numerous health problems. Not only may the condition for which the patient has been hospitalized progress or worsen, but longer hospital stays have also been linked to increased risks of developing an infection or suffering a medication error.

Given the health risks posed by only having what amounts to skeletal staffing on weekends, many safety advocates are calling on hospitals to increase and improve their weekend staffing policies. While medical professionals need and are entitled to time off, many argue patient safety shouldn't suffer as a result.

Ohio residents who have been adversely impacted by a delay in medical treatment may choose to take legal action. In many cases, a legal professional who specializes in cases involving hospital negligence can help provide for a favorable legal outcome.

Source: Forbes, "Why Being Hospitalized On A Weekend Costs More Lives, Health Care Dollars," Robert Pearl, M.D., Oct. 10, 2013

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