July: A Deadly Time For Hospitals

Written on July 14, 2010 by Felicia Appenteng in Arts & Cultures & Societies

A recent study found that more patients die of medical mistakes in the month of July than any other month. Inexperienced and overtired doctors may be part of the problem. David Phillips, professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego, talks about study findings with Michele Norris.

A new study has documented a bit of anecdotal medical wisdom. It's called the July effect. And it happens this month every summer, when thousands of new doctors arrive at hospitals to begin their residency programs and take care of patients for the first time.

The notion that some of these rookie doctors would bungle their responsibilities because of inexperience and sleep deprivation has long been a hospital ward myth. David Phillips wanted to find out if the July effect is more than just a myth. He's a professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. His study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Click here to listen to the full interview with David Phillips on National Public Radio.


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