Discharged for the holidays
No one wants to be in the hospital during the Christmas holiday, but the most wonderful time of the year could be the most dangerous time to leave the hospital. Canadian investigators compared a group of patients who were discharged during the 2-week holiday period with patients released during control periods before and after the holiday season.
The analysis revealed that the risk of death or readmission was higher within the next 7 days (odds ratio, 1.16), 14 days (OR, 1.14), and 30 days (OR, 1.09) for the group discharged during the holiday period (BMJ. 2018 Dec 10;363. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k4481). “The holiday period might be a time of reduced access to outpatient care” as caregivers take time off, the investigators suggested, or “patients might prefer to postpone their follow-up visit until their usual physician is available, or until the end of the holiday festivities or travel commitments.”
This hospital-related holiday danger is new information, of course, but maybe it’s not such a surprise. The beloved Christmas characters are, after all, a rather unhealthy bunch: Santa is obese, Rudolf has a stunningly severe case of rosacea, Charlie Brown is depressed, and don’t even get us started on the Grinch and his rapidly expanding heart.