Doctors at teaching hospitals have known for decades that July is not a good time to be hospitalized because that’s when the newbie “trainees” (e.g. doctors-and-nurses-in-training) arrive, wide-eyed, intense and sleep-deprived. Poor decisions and misdiagnoses abound. In the US it’s known as the “July Effect,” and in the UK it’s known as the “August Killing Season.” God bless ’em they gotta learn sometime, but how about some oversight?
Now the July Effect is official, thanks to an analysis of the literature published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Although the authors of the study stopped short of putting an exact number on the increased risk of adverse events and deaths, they acknowledge it does exist.
Hospitals are already dangerous places to be. The odds of being misdiagnosed, getting an antibiotic-resistant infection, a botched surgery or the wrong medicine are very high. It’s likely safer to spend the summer scuba diving with sharks. This underscores the importance of having a friend at the hospital to be your advocate.
Here’s more information on Medical Mistakes.