Over 6,000 Deaths Attributable to Off-Hours Heart Attacks

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Although there's never a good time to have a heart attack, a recent study showed that thousands of preventable deaths occur each year in the U.S. because of heart attacks that occur after normal business hours or on the weekend. About 400,000 people die from coronary heart disease each year and a million people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks.

Researchers looked into the treatment and effects of a heart attack that occurs outside regular business hours. They concluded that those heart attack victims who visited the ER on weekends or after hours had a five percent higher risk of death that lasted up to 30 days after being discharged from the hospital than those who came to the ER during normal business hours. Statistically, this on average leads to 6,000 deaths a year.

A major reason that heart attacks are more deadly after hours is that on average, for certain types of heart attacks there is a 15 minute delay from the time a patient comes in the door of an ER until the time an angioplasty is performed. This delay has been found to increase mortality by as much as 10 to 15 percent.

The researchers said they couldn't completely rule out other factors associated with patient characteristics as the underlying cause. However, the link between death and after-hours hospital care is strong. Unfortunately, many hospitals and urgent care facilities do not keep their facilities properly staffed at night or on the weekends. This negligence can lead to deaths that could otherwise have been prevented.

If you or a loved one has experienced poor patient care at an emergency room, which resulted in death or further medical issues, call the Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 713-489-9493. You can also visit us on Twitter to learn more.

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