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Researchers say the "weekend effect" is real in obstetrics

Pregnant women in Arizona may not want to induce labor on the weekend. A new study by the Imperial College London found that births that take place on Saturdays and Sundays are riskier than weekday births. The results of the study confirmed the existence of the 'weekend effect," a phenomenon that has been studied extensively in several different areas of health care.

The weekend effect is a theory that patients are at a greater risk of injury when they visit the hospital over the weekend. Though there are many factors that could help to create the weekend effect, medical experts say that it may be in part due to capacity strain caused by increased patient volume.

The English study was the first major study into the weekend effect within obstetrics. Researchers studied perinatal mortality, birth injuries, infant readmission and maternal infections. In all of the areas, researchers found evidence that patients were more at risk during the weekend than they were during the week. For example, the rate of perinatal mortality was 6.5 per 1,000 cases for babies born on weekdays but 7.1 per 1,000 cases for babies born on weekends. A lead researcher on the study said that even when they adjusted for chance differences in numbers, they found that weekend births were still more complicated.

Regardless of whether a doctor's errors were caused by capacity strain on a busy day, health care practitioners may still be held financially responsible for the injuries that they caused. A lawyer may be able to help a family to pursue compensation for the short- and long-term effects of neonatal injuries that were caused by medical negligence.

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