Resident in charge: ©Life
You can probably think of a million reasons to stay out of the hospital, but today a study suggests another reason, at least for the month of July....
Students graduate from medical school in May or early June, and by July, they are ensconced in the fabric of university-affiliated hospitals, given responsibilities beyond what they've ever had before, and sleeping less than they ever thought they would. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, looked at the relationship between these circumstances and medical error and tied the facts together.
David P. Philips and Gwendolyn E. C. Barker, from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) examined all U.S. death certificates between 1979 and 2006 and selected out those with cause of death being medication errors. The number of deaths per month due to medication errors was fairly flat, except for blips during the month of July every year.
Looking further into the data, the researchers selected out the hospitals in counties with teaching hospitals, and found that the medication errors spiked by 10 percent, but there were no spikes in counties where there were no teaching hospitals. Therefore, the researchers concluded that the "July Effect" was at least in part due to the influx of new medical residents taking responsibility for patient care.
Here are a few similar studies published recently in Science Daily that should encourage you to stay away.
Tired Doctors Make More Mistakes (or) Patient Care Improves When Medical Residents Work Fewer Hours
Doctors Under-Reporting Medical Errors To Hospitals, Study Suggests
Doctors Interrupted at Work Give Shorter and Poorer Care to Patients, Study Finds
Oh, I love hospitals... don't get me wrong.