Is July Really the Most Dangerous Month to Go to the Hospital?

No one wants to land themselves in the ER, but popular opinion would lead you to believe that July is the most dangerous time to be treated in a hospital—one that’s been dubbed the “July effect,” explained Anthony Kouri, chief resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of Toledo Medical Center. In July, new medical graduates start their first year of residency or intern year. In addition, current residents move into roles with greater responsibilities, Kouri said. Together, these facts have led to the common belief that hospitals are teeming with inexperience during the month of July.

But, the truth isn’t exactly cut and dried. In Daniel H. Pink’s book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, he writes “patients suffered from this on-the-job training—and July was the cruelest month.” Citing research published in the Annals of Surgery, Pink notes that “patients in July and August had a 41 percent greater chance of dying in surgery than patients did in April and May.”

Excerpted from Reader’s Digest

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