July: Good For Fireworks, Bad For Hospital Patients

It’s July, which means burgers and dogs by the dozens, probably along with a brew or two. But you might want to make sure the food you’re cooking out is up to snuff, because it looks like July is the worst month of the year to be a patient at a teaching hospital.

According to a new study in the Journal of Internal Medicine, the rate of fatal medication errors at teaching hospitals spikes in July, up 10% of where it should be.

The study makes a correlation between the death surge and the huge number of new residents beginning work at these hospitals each July.

However, the researchers also say it’s possible that patient behavior might also play a factor in the increased number of errors, with increased alcohol consumption causing negative reactions to medication. They add that tourists do not always receive or seek out the best medical care when they get sick.

Whatever the cause, the study says that the spike in medication errors only occurs in July and only at teaching hospitals.

So obviously, if you’re sick this July, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. But it wouldn’t hurt to double-check the name of the medication on the bag that’s hooked up to your IV, and be sure to give a full and honest medical history to the doctors.

Why July is the worst month to be hospitalized [Chicago Tribune]