If you must suffer cardiac arrest in a hospital, try to do so during normal workday hours—you’re more likely to survive, says a new study. In every part of a hospital except for the emergency room, staffers on the graveyard shift are more fatigued, less experienced, and fewer in number. These factors add up to a slower response when monitors signal a “code blue”—meaning that a heartbeat has stopped. In a code blue, doctors and nurses must rush to the patient’s bedside and administer an electrical shock to start the heart beating again. If a code blue happens on a week-day before 11 p.m., the patient has a 20 percent chance of surviving and eventually being discharged from the hospital. If it happens after 11, the patient has a less than 15 percent chance of making it to discharge. A similar effect is seen on weekend days. Study author Dr. Mary Ann Peberdy tells the Associated Press that the findings “should be a pretty big wake-up call to hospitals to critically evaluate how they are performing resuscitation.”
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Health scare of the week: The worst time to be in a hospital
February 28, 2008
of The Week magazine.