Hospitals More Dangerous After Dark


A new study that appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that the graveyard shift in hospitals is the most dangerous time for a patient to require a "code blue" for a stopped heart. Researchers found that among the late night cases studied, there were a higher portion of instances where patients were discovered with no heart electrical activity; that is, too late to deliver a lifesaving shock.

According to the Associated Press, "Everyone who works in a hospital is going to look at this and say, 'Are we doing everything we should be?'" said Dr. Charles Porter, a cardiologist at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.

This sounds a bit disingenuous in my experience since nearly every doctor or nurse I've ever talked to is perfectly aware that care declines at night. Among other things, this is common sense.

In fact, and as some readers know, I've previously blogged on the subject of the danger of hospitals at night and on weekends. Doctors know this; nurses know this; even lawyers know this.

If you need hospitalization, try to need it on a weekday.