• Do Medical Malpractice Claims Traditionally See an Uptick in July?

    Posted on July 18, 2018 by Neil Durkin Law Offices

    Doctor | medical malpracticeIf you’ve ever required medical treatment at a hospital — and especially if you’ve had to spend the night — then there are certain truths that you’re probably familiar with. One is that a hospital is the last place you should go if you want to get rest: the rattling of carts, the middle of the night blood pressure checks and medication dosings, the sounds of other patients in nearby rooms all work against the idea of sleeping for more than short spurts. Another thing you often hear about hospital stays is that you should avoid the month of July at all costs – that it is the month when the most medical malpractice occurs. But is this true?


    Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of truth to what is known as the “July Effect.” Though most people think it’s because physicians and staff are off on holiday vacations, the real reason behind the uptick in medical errors during the month of July has to do with the annual arrival of recent medical school graduates.


    Medical schools graduate their students at the same time of year as most other schools – in late spring — and those students head off to their residencies in July. Though they have had some exposure to hospitals during their med school training, this inexperienced group is officially staff, and they are responsible for much of the care that patients receive, especially as the more experienced residents who have completed their residency leave to pursue their own practices.


    Though some argue that the July Effect is merely a myth, there is some evidence that supports its truth. Studies have shown that the rate of fatality of high-risk heart attack patients was higher in July at teaching hospitals (which utilize recent medical school graduates) than in non-teaching hospitals. Other studies contradict these findings, with some saying that hospitals, where recent medical school graduates are arriving, are providing additional oversight through experienced staff physicians and nursing staff to ensure that mistakes do not occur.


    It is hard to predict whether a hospital’s provision of care will fall short at any time of year, and more importantly, it is often hard to plan when you are going to need medical care. If you suspect that you received treatment that was not up to the standard of care expected and it resulted in your being harmed, you need to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Contact our office at your earliest convenience to set up a time to come in and speak to us.