The study is only the latest in a series of research documenting the weekend effect, however.
According to the Star Ledger, throughout the past 10 years studies have linked weekend admissions to lower standards of care and higher mortality rates for heart attack victims and patients with end-stage renal failure. A study published in the United Kingdom in June found that more stroke patients die when hospitalized on the weekend, ABC reports. This is an important consideration, given that according to the CDC, someone dies from a stroke in the U.S. every four minutes.
In May 2011, a team of researchers from Tufts Medical School found higher mortality rates in nonelective hospital admissions on the weekend across the U.S. throughout a five-year period. Even a 1 percent higher mortality rate can affect thousands of patients, said Rocco Ricciardi, a surgeon and the lead author of the study, which was published in the May 2011 edition of the Archives of Surgery. Ricciardi's team found that between 2003 and 2007, as many as 25,000 extra deaths could be attributed to the weekend effect.
Of course, not everyone thinks the phenomenon is quite as big of a deal as some researchers suggest.
In a 2011 Star Ledger article, Gary Horan, president and CEO of Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ, downplayed the effect. "People forget — we are a 24-hour operation," Horan said.