S. L. Baker
June 22, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
If you plan on going to a teaching hospital for a test or elective procedure, here’s a warning that could save your life: Stay away from the hospital in July. The reason? According to a new study headed by Dr. David Phillips and Gwendolyn Barker from the University of California, San Diego, fatal medication errors soar that month — especially in teaching hospitals.
The research team investigated the cause behind the so-called curious “July Effect” that has long been noted to worsen the outcomes of patients being treated in teaching hospitals during the month of July. Phillips and Barker focused on 244,388 U.S. death certificates issued between 1979 and 2006 that listed fatal medication errors as the primary cause of death. Then they compared the number of deaths that occurred in July with the number of expected events in a given month for a given year. Next, they looked to see if there were any differences between deaths in and out of hospitals in July and in counties that had or lacked teaching hospitals.