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News In Brief

Researchers: July is worst month to check into teaching hospital

Daryl Paranada Jun 3, 2010

Checking in to a teaching hospital any time next month? Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but July might not be the best month to do so.

U.C. San Diego researchers say that the influx of inexperienced residents to teaching hospitals make July particularly prone to medical errors. The researchers report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that the rate of fatal medical errors increases in July by about 10 percent compared with the average in other months.

From the [LA Times](http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/06/july-is-the-worst-…(Booster+Shots):

Many physicians have long suspected an increased rate of medical errors when new residents join hospitals, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “July effect.” But hard evidence supporting the possibility had been hard to come by, said social scientist David H. Phillips of UCSD, because most previous studies had examined small, non-geographically representative samples over a limited time period.

For the study, Phillips and a graduate student studied all the U.S. death certificates from 1979 to 2006, paying particular attention to the more than 244,000 deaths that were linked to medication areas.

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