Influence of superstition on the date of hospital discharge and medical cost in Japan: Retrospective and descriptive study

K. Hira, T. Fukui, A. Endoh, M. Rahman, M. Maekawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. To determine the influence of superstition about Taian (a lucky day)-Butsumetsu (an unlucky day) on decision to leave hospital. To estimate the costs of the effect of this superstition. Design. Retrospective and descriptive study. Setting. University hospital in Kyoto, Japan. Subjects. Patients who were discharged alive from Kyoto University Hospital from 1 April 1992 to 31 March 1995. Main outcome measures. Mean number, age, and hospital stay of patients discharged on each day of six day cycle. Results. The mean number, age, and hospital stay of discharged patients were highest on Taian and lowest on Butsumetsu (25.8 v 19.3 patients/day, P = 0.0001; 43.9 v 41.4 years, P = 0.0001; and 43.1 v 33.3 days, P = 0.0001 respectively). The effect of this difference on the hospital's costs was estimated to be 7.4 million yen (£31,000). Conclusion. The superstition influenced the decision to leave hospital, contributing to higher medical care costs in Japan. Although hospital stays need to be kept as short as possible to minimise costs, doctors should not ignore the possible psychological effects on patients' health caused by dismissing the superstition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1683
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Volume317
Issue number7174
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 26 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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