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Hospital deaths result of new, overworked doctors
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of ABC News

ABC News, June 3, 2010
Posted: June 14th, 2010

There is an old saying among some doctors -- do not let your friends and family schedule a surgery in July. July is the month when graduates, fresh out of medical school, report to residencies in teaching hospitals. Anecdotally, at least, it's been a time when medical errors peak. A new study decided to see if the so-called "July Effect" was real. Researchers from the University of California at San Diego investigated more than 62 million U.S. death certificates between 1979 and 2006. Of those, 244,388 deaths were caused by a medication errors in a hospital. Month to month, the statistics showed a relatively equal chance for a fatal medication error -- except at teaching hospitals in the month of July. The study found that fatal medication errors spiked by 10 percent in July in counties with a high number of teaching hospitals, but stayed the same in areas without teaching hospitals. David Phillips, [a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego, and] the lead author of the study, said ... "There's something going on in teaching hospitals in July, and the most common thing people think of was residents starting." Residents are inexperienced, often sleep-deprived -- working 36-hour shifts in many cases.

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