If you can, stay out of the hospital during the summer — especially July. That's the month when medical students become interns, interns become residents, and residents become fellows and full-fledged doctors. In other words, some of the staff at any given teaching hospital are new on the job.
Summer hospital horror stories aren't just medical lore: The adjusted mortality rate rises 4% in July and August for the average major teaching hospital, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. That means 8 to 14 more deaths occur at major teaching hospitals than would normally without the turnover.
Another scheduling tip: Try to book surgeries first thing in the morning and preferably early in the week when doctors are at their best and before schedules get backed up.