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Are Weekends More Dangerous for Children to Have Surgery?

As a parent, you worry about your child any time that he or she has to undergo a surgical procedure. We want to ensure that our children have the best medical care in the safest environment. For a parent, it is terrifying to think that your child could be injured or killed by a medical procedure designed to make your child better. However, that is just what is happening at hospitals in Sacramento and throughout the United States.

The concept of weekend effect is the subject of a recent John Hopkins investigation related to childrens surgeries and medical malpractice. The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery (July 2014) found an increase in the number of injuries and deaths for children who had surgery on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday). The study spanned 22 years and 440,000 pediatric operations; therefore, it is not a short-term or isolated phenomenon.

Of the patients studied, researchers discovered that children who underwent surgery on a Saturday or Sunday had a substantially higher risk of being injured or dying compared to children who had the same or similar surgeries on a weekday. Over the course of the 22-year study, 30 children died as a result of the so-called weekend effect. It is believed that limited availability of diagnostic tests, staffing issues and delays in care may have contributed to the higher risk for children who have surgeries on weekends.

As a parent, it is devastating when your child is injured; however, that grief is worse when it was a preventable act such as negligence, carelessness or recklessness. Parents in Sacrament and California can take steps to protect their children if they must have a surgical procedure by:

  • Getting a second opinion if time permits
  • Scheduling surgeries for weekends unless it is an emergency situation
  • Ask questions of the doctors and nurses and keep asking questions until you understand everything that is being done to and for your child
  • Keep careful notes about instructions and things that are said
  • Ask about what medication is being administered before the nurse or doctor gives your child any type of medication
  • A parent should stay with the child at all times to ensure that medical attention is provided in a timely manner and that no procedures are performed or medications are given without the parents prior knowledge

If you believe that your child has been i njured due the weekend effect, you should contact a Sacramento medical malpractice attorney immediately. The medical malpractice laws in California are designed to protect children and adults from the mistakes made by medical professionals.

Surgical errors are often preventable, so make sure that you get the advice you need if you believe your child has been the victim of surgical errors. You may be entitled to receive damages if your child has been injured due to the inattentiveness, negligence or carelessness of a medical provider.