Pa Patient Saf Advis 2008 Mar;5(1):2.
Letter to the Editor: Surgical Complication Incidence

Letter to the Editor

In our hospital Patient Safety Committee, we recently had a discussion about the incidence of surgical complications and specifically whether there is any variation according to the day of the week. There is a commonly held belief that in manufacturing, more errors occur on Mondays.

I am hoping that the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory may have the information to answer this question as it may have some impact upon staffing paradigms for hospitals. It does have implications for hospital and resident staffing.

Chris D. Tzarnas, M.D.
Director of Surgery
Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital
Darby, Pennsylvania

Editor’s Note

The PA-PSRS’ analysts thought your question would be of general interest and have information available from prior analyses that can partially answer the question you pose. We had reviewed 1,784 reports of technical errors by surgeons in the operating room between June 28, 2004, and June 30, 2005. Looking at the date of the event by day of the week, we note no apparent difference in distribution, except weekends:

       Sunday: 3%

       Monday: 18%

       Tuesday: 20%

       Wednesday: 20%

       Thursday: 19%

       Friday: 17%

       Saturday: 4%

We do not have denominators indicating the number of procedures done on each day, so there remains a possibility that the rates are different in the unexpected event that the number of operations fluctuates noticeably among weekdays.

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