Head trauma patients more likely to die on weekends

The well-known "weekend effect," in which patient safety may be at greater risk during Saturdays and Sundays, also applies to patients with head trauma, according to Johns Hopkins' researchers. Even if their injuries are less severe than patients who stay in the hospital during the week, patient outcomes for weekenders are worse, with 14 percent more likely to die from their injuries, according to a study published in the Journal of Surgical Research. Researchers noted there is no medical reason for the disparity in outcomes but it could be attributed to fewer experienced staff and specialist resources, such as neurosurgeons, on weekends. Although study leader Eric Schneider, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins' Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research, recommended more staff, he said another less expensive, more practical option is to transport older patients with head injuries directly to the nearest trauma center and to bypass closer facilities that can't provide that level of care. Announcement