Washington DC Medical Malpractice?: July is Worst Month for Deadly Medication Mistakes at Teaching Hospitals

According to a new study, the “July Effect” is real. Not only is July the month when medical school graduates are most likely to begin their residencies in teaching hospitals, but, it is also when teaching hospitals see a 10% rise in deadly medication mistakes. It is important to note, however, that the study, only suggests but doesn’t confirm that the new medical residents are to blame for these errors. There may be no link between the two at all.

Common reasons why a new medical resident might make a medical mistake:
• Professional inexperience
• Lack of sleep
• Fatigue from working 36-hour shifts
• Unfamiliar with hospital setting environment

The study, which can be found in the latest issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, was conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Diego who investigated over 62 million US death certificates between 1979 and 2006. 244,388 of the fatalities involved medication errors that occurred in hospitals. The statistics showed that except for at teaching hospitals in July, the chances of a medication mistake happening on any other month was relatively the same. Medication deaths involving unexpected allergic reactions and those that occurred outside hospitals were not included in the study.

In recent years, many teaching hospitals have put into place better supervision, policies to prevent medical mistakes caused by sleep deprivation, and other safeguards.

Regardless of which medical professional makes a medication error, this type of mistake can cause health complications, allergic reactions, and even death. Any type of medical mistake that causes personal injury or wrongful death to the patient can be grounds for a Washington DC medical malpractice lawsuit.

The ‘July Effect’: Worst Month For Fatal Hospital Errors, Study Finds, ABC World News, June 3, 2010
Hospital Errors: Be Wary Of The ‘July Effect’ (VIDEO), The Huffington Post, June 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Journal of General Internal Medicine

Teaching Hospitals, AAMC

Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog

Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog

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