Catching an out-of-the-blue cold always sucks. But thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one time you absolutely donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to get sickÃ¢â‚¬”at least if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something serious enough to send you to the hospital: Suffering a life-threatening event at night or on a weekend may be linked with higher mortality rates, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ.
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For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic reviewed 48 prior studies and found that when people went to the hospital with a heart attack during Ã¢â‚¬Å“off hours,Ã¢â‚¬Â they had a 5 percent increased risk of death (either at the hospital or in the 30 days after theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been discharged)Ã¢â‚¬”compared to if they went during the day on a weekday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While that number seems like a relatively small risk, it can have a substantial impact on the population,Ã¢â‚¬Â says lead study author Atsushi Sorita, M.D., who estimates that more than 4,000 deaths each year are attributable to this increased risk.
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Several factors could play into this discrepancy. Hospitals may have fewer staff and resources available to them during off times, and patient injuries can also vary depending on the time of dayÃ¢â‚¬”for example, there are more alcohol-related accidents on weekends. On nights and weekends, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also an average 105-minute span between the time a patient arrives at the hospital and the time they start receiving medical attention, according to the study. (On weekdays, that wait goes down to 90 minutes, on average.) And since receiving medical care as quickly as possible is probably the most crucial factor in life-and-death situations, that stat is scarily high, says Sorita.
Of course, you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t plan when you end up in the hospital. But if you do find yourself in a predicament that requires professional care, call an ambulance ASAP, says Sorita. Because the sooner you seek out medical attention, the better your odds are for a fullÃ¢â‚¬”and safeÃ¢â‚¬”recovery.
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