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New study highlights the danger in delaying emergent surgery

Posted Friday, September 8, 2017 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

“Emergent” is synonymous with the need for something to occur quickly. Whatever is “emergent” is also acute, pressing, critical, imperative.

In the context of a patient needing surgery, the word takes on even greater weight and importance. You hope and trust that if you or a loved one is in such a situation, whatever surgery is needed will happen right away. The implication is that if it doesn’t, something bad will happen.

Perhaps it didn’t take a study to confirm what may be obvious, but a new study does just that. Recently the results of a study looking at delays in urgent/emergent surgeries were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study looked particularly at delays at a hospital in Ottawa.

The study found that 19% of such surgeries were delayed, often due to unavailability of an operating room or staff. The study found that those patients had an increased risk of dying while in the hospital: 5% versus 3% of patients who didn’t have a delay in their surgery.

If hospitals and other health care providers didn’t need more of an incentive to reduce that number of delayed surgeries, the study also found that it cost more for the delayed surgery patients.

You can read the full study at the CMAJ website here:

Association of delay of urgent or emergency surgery with mortality and use of health care resources: a propensity score–matched observational cohort study

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