Should you go to the hospital in July if you do not have to? A study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported a 10% spike in death occurring at teaching hospitals during the month of July caused by medical errors. The influx is attributed to new residents and interns.
Like many other fields medical students graduate in June and typically begin their first year of residency in July. A resident is a medical school graduate who holds a M.D. who practices medicine usually in a clinic or hospital under the supervision of an attending physician. The first year of residency is called an internship. These doctors are referred to as interns.
The study involved reviewed data from 1979-2010 and found that there were 10% more avoidable medical errors than any other month. JAMA Surgical journal did conclude that the “July Effect” has no bearing on surgeries performed during the same time frame.
A story recently republished by CNN.com from the prospective of a new doctor, indicates the level of inexperience and lack of confidence many in the same situation are in. One particular doctor indicated that on his first night on call a loud siren rang and a nurse grabbed him and said, “you’re a resident right? I need you to run this code.” He admitted that he did not know what he was doing. He grabbed his pocket medical manual, flipped through it and figured out he needed to de-fibrillate. He yells, “Get me the paddles.” The nurse hands him the paddles. He confidently yells out, “CLEAR!” and the nurse yells, “STOP!” The nurse adjusts his hands so that he is now in the proper position to correctly perform this emergency procedure. The writer explains that if the nurse would not have done this, he would have shocked the patient’s liver. Cardiac rhythm was restored and the patient was okay.
Although this doctor retells his story lightly and the outcome was correct, it doesn’t change that fact that what he experienced was not any different from countless other interns experience annually.
For the more on the story in support of this post, click HERE.