What Happens After Surgeons Take a Break?

We find that a surgeon’s additional day away from the operating room raised patients’ inpatient mortality risk by up to 0.067 percentage points (2.4% relative effect) but reduced total hospitalization costs by up to 0.59 percentage points…Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that after returning from temporal breaks surgeons may be less likely to recognize and address life-threatening complications, in turn reducing resource use. (NBER Working Paper)

Comments (15)

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  1. Lacey says:

    So, are they advocating the surgeons not be allowed to take breaks?

  2. Linda Gorman says:

    In many real world situations we’d call the difference between estimated mortality rates of (about) 2.5 percent and 2.567 percent rounding error.

    But this is health care research with a big sample of patients who may or may not have died as a result of the surgery.

    At least it showed that health care costs are lower when people die than when they have to pay for their recovery.

  3. Sue says:

    Hmm, I think I want my doctor taking breaks, being well-rested, not being stressed, etc…

  4. Wally says:

    I somehow feel better knowing my doctor is well rested

  5. Buster says:

    Another guy I wasn’t well-rested is the pilot of the airline I travel on.