Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Friday operations

More misrepresentation in reporting statistics in the news media today! This time about the likelihood of dying after surgery at the end of the week.

I have just sent this letter to The Times:

To report that the 'risk of dying after operation soars towards the end of the week' (The Times, 29 May) is to distort the statistics that the  probability of dying after a Friday operation is 0.82% compared with 0.55% for a Monday. 

These results could be reported by saying that a patient has 99.18% and 99.45% chances of surviving Friday and Monday operations respectively. Both are extremely high chances and the survival rate for Mondays is only slightly better than that for Fridays. If I needed surgery I would be grateful to take either.

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