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Look out for the annual July death spike

Posted Jul 01 2010 7:04am

My mother’s a nurse and she’s always told me I should do everything within my power to avoid the hospital in the month of July. The reason why? That’s when the new shiny-faced medical residents hit the hospital floors for the first time.

Now a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine confirms that mom was right all along.

Researchers found that deaths from medication errors do indeed peak in July in cities with teaching hospitals. In fact, they were able to show that a regular 10% spike occurs in July alone…with the other months staying within expected levels.

So if you’re having elective surgery skip the month of July just to be safe. And if you have to unexpectedly head into the hospital in July, and you have a choice, avoid going to a teaching hospital.

Yes, it’s true that new docs have to learn. But I, for one, don’t want them making their first costly mistakes on me. And you know what they say. It’s a mathematical fact that 50 percent of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class.

Avoiding the practice round,

Alice Wessendorf

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