Sure I Cut Off My Finger, But The ER Can Wait Until After The 9th Inning

from the priorities,-people,-priorities! dept

It's coming down to the final week of a fairly exciting baseball season, with very little certain about who will still be playing a week from now. Would you believe that may be good news for emergency room physicians? They might want to kick back and relax (at least in cities where teams are still in the pennant race), as new research suggests that emergency room visits drop during important baseball games. Similar research has suggested the same thing about the Super Bowl. Of course, it's not entirely clear (at least from this article) if it's just people delaying going to the ER (so, immediately following the games there would be a rush), or if they just don't go at all. In either case, if it's people who really need to be helped in an emergency situation, it would seem like this is actually a fairly unhealthy decision... On the other hand, if it turns out that people actually are healthier while watching games (perhaps they're not out getting into other trouble), then plenty sports fans now have a very good excuse for telling (perhaps) a complaining significant other why they need to plant themselves on the couch for a few hours to tune into the latest plays by the home nine.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 1:52am

    Left-Censored Data

    I'm taking a course on Survival Analysis, which is about the mathematics of phenomena like this. I have to ask about left censoring in the event times -- what if ER staff are too busy watching the game to record patients coming in during the game?

    But reading the article, the science is laughable. They only measured data from one hospital in one city during one season?? This Kenneth D. Mandl of Harvard Medical School will become the laughingstock of epidemiologists, and he can expect his career to be strung up high before the execution mob.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Spanky McWhorowitz, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 3:23am

    You forgot...

    The real explanation, which is that people sitting on the couch watching TV are less likely to be doing something that causes an emergency room visit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dorpus, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 3:30am

    Re: You forgot...

    Back in the early 1980s, a feminist wrote a famous paper that claimed ER visits spiked after Super Bowl games. It even became a buzzword in our culture, the notion of the "Bloody Superbowl Sunday". However, like this study, it was based only on data from one hospital during one year.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 26th, 2005 @ 4:04am

    Re: You forgot...

    The real explanation, which is that people sitting on the couch watching TV are less likely to be doing something that causes an emergency room visit.

    Didn't forget. It says in the post: "perhaps they're not out getting into other trouble"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Joe, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 5:28am

    Don't even bother going during a game

    Last year during the game before the Super Bowl (Steelers were playing and I'm in Pittsburgh, so it was just as important as the Super Bowl), I took a 5 foot spill on to my arm in a stupid drunken move. It looked pretty bad, so I went to the ER to get it checked out. The whole time I was getting my arm taken care of, the lady would make an excuse to go check on another patient or to look something up. She was actually going out to watch the game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 5:56am

    Re: You forgot...

    I used to work in a hospital lab and I can say for sure that during a major sporting event, the number of emergencies drops drastically to practically zero. But, within minutes of the game ending, the patients come back.

    In the lab where I worked, the entrance took you through the patient waiting area where we had a color TV with cable (this was in 1986, so this was rarity on a military base) and I remember sitting there one Sunday and watched the entire Super Bowl game without a single sample being delivered for analysis, but within 20 minutes of the game being over, I was suddenly swamped with incoming work.

    The only thing worse is Thanksgiving Day when around 3:00-3:30 in the afternoon you suddenly get an influx of people who ate too much and think they're having a heart attack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    rightnumberone, Sep 26th, 2005 @ 8:20am

    No Subject Given

    We should not ASSUME that a visit to an emergency room constitutes an ACTUAL EMERGENCY.

    Emergency rooms at hospitals are the health care of first resort for many people who cannot afford health insurance. Many people who visit emergency rooms for care are there for non-emergency reasons (such as to receive free medication, or consultation, as opposed to having a severed finger re-attached.)

    It seems reasonable that people might put off these kinds of visits to emergency rooms for non-emergency care during high-profile television events.

    Again, just because it says: Emergency Room ... doesn't mean all the health care that occurs in that room is "trauma" related.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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