Trauma Survival Better on Weekends

By Mike McEvoy
EMS Editor

Survival odds might be better if you’re shot, stabbed or critically injured in a crash on the weekend, according to a study of Pennsylvania trauma system data published in the March 21, 2011 issue of the Archives of Surgery. Critical conditions such as stroke, myocardial infarction and cardiac arrest are associated with poorer outcomes when patients arrive during nights and on weekends. Not so for trauma; the authors found no difference in outcomes for patients arriving at trauma centers outside traditional working hours. Even more surprising was a seemingly better survival and shorted length of hospital stay for patients injured on weekends. 

The authors speculate that the ever ready state (24/7/365) of the trauma system may provide lessons for care of critically ill patients with time sensitive conditions where delays in providing interventions likely lead to worse outcomes. They speculate that the improved weekend outcomes may be related to competition for resources such as operating rooms, diagnostic testing, and blood products during busy weekday hours


Carr BG, Reilly PM, Schwab CW, Branas CC, Geiger J, and Wiebe DJ. Weekend and Night Outcomes in a Statewide Trauma System. Archives of Surgery. 2011 March 21 [Epub ahead of print].

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