July 12, 2011 | Mark Paradies

The July Effect – Watch Out for New Interns in July!


A study of 244,388 death certificates issued from 1979 to 2006 conducted by a doctor at the University of California, San Diego, and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that fatal medication errors increased by 10 percent in July in counties with teaching hospitals.

Why might this be?

Because many new residents (interns) arrive from universities in July.

New interns don’t have experience, don’t know who does what, are learning what it is to work in a hospital, and, especially in the past, may work really long hours.

David Wenner of The Patriot-News wrote about the problem and some comments by different hospital safety professionals and doctors in an article titled: “Hospital take steps to reduce errors among medical residents.”

What can you do as a patient?

First, check your medications closely.

Second, wait to get sick (or be hospitalized for any reason) until September when the new residents will be more seasoned!

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