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More iffy science reporting: "Babies born at weekend more likely to die"

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Simon, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon

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    I guess this isn't so surprising when a front page news story backs up the government-of-the-day's controversial policy:
    (The UK government want to bring in a fully-staffed 7 day service against much resistance: many people fear that since the current 5 + 2 service can't cope, the money would be better spent on raising standards for that. Junior doctors are striking over the govt imposing a new contract they say will reduce their earning by removing the premium for weekend working)

    Babies born at weekends 'have higher death risk' - BBC News
    Babies more likely to die if born in NHS hospitals at weekend - Telegraph

    It's not really true. Babies born following admission of the mother to hospital on a weekend had a higher mortality rate than for admissions on a Tuesday. But so too did babies born to mothers admitted on Weds, Thurs and Fri - as the graph below shows (days from left to right are Monday-Sunday). Which looks like blatant reporting cherry-picking to me.
    upload_2015-11-25_9-51-52.png

    Crucially for the current debate:
    Study: Association between day of delivery and obstetric outcomes: observational study | The BMJ
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
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  2. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    Was the misinformation supplied by the Science Media Centre?
     
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  3. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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  4. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    I think all babies are equally likely to die.
     
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  5. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    YES!

    Thank you, @msf.

    Whatever has become of journalism???
     
  6. Simon

    Simon

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    :) !

    (Though graph is for in-hospital perinatal mortality)
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
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  7. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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  8. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    But it's from the BMJ - rather more connected to the uk medical establishment I'd have thought.

    I guess admission Wed-Fri might mean greater chance of receiving care over the weekend? Was that looked at?

    I'm surprised by the politics of this if it is a paper spun in favour of the Govt., and against the doctors.
     
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  9. Simon

    Simon

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    No, an admitted weakness of the study was that they analysed admission date, not treatment date. But babies get admitted all the time so weekend-admitted mothers would show up in Mon/Tues data too. So we aare none the wiser

    Not exactly - edit: yes, and also a comment there said the study had been done on the cheap, using low-cost database data with unacceptably high rates of missing data for both birth weight and gestation age (and whether single, twin, triplets etc). More expensive clinical record data wouldn't have had that problem.

    So basically the study explains little, and the evidence it does have argues against weekend admissions being a cause of problems.

    But best to get born on a Monday or Tues, just to be on the safe side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
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  10. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    Did you read the same thing that I did? It said, among other things:
     
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