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Avoid Hospitals In July

senior-coupleWe’ve all heard about how it may be in your best interest to avoid a hospitalization on a holiday or during a weekend, when senior staff tend to be off.  However, a new study suggests that you may want to avoid a trip to the hospital completely during the month of July. As recently reported by Julie Deardorff of the Chicago Tribune, a study from the Journal of Internal Medicine determined that the patient death rate from medication errors was 10% higher in July than in other months. Perhaps the most reasonable explanation for the spike in medication errors at hospitals was due to the fact that July is when the more than 20,000 fresh medical school graduates begin their residency programs and begin to work on real patients for the first time.  Further, in addition to a lack of experience, many residents are encouraged to work excruciating hours without proper oversight from more experienced physicians. For nursing home patients, this fresh crop of residents can be especially problematic due to the fact that many patients are not capable of communicating effectively or providing a list of the medications they currently take. Of course, it would be foolish tell anyone to avoid a trip to the hospital simply because a new resident may be present.  However, I think this study reinforces the need for families to be advocates for their loved ones and speak up if they have a question or suspect the care provided is inadequate. Hat tip to Medical Malpractice Attorney, John Yannone for his support.


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