U.S. doctors start their residencies (in hospital training) each July 1 in thousands of “teaching hospitals” nationwide. In 2012 the influx was noted as nearly 37,000 interns and other trainees. The result? An abundance of current teams of experienced residents leave “teaching hospitals” and are replaced by trainees fresh out of medical school. The notion that nationwide morbidity and mortality rates increase in teaching hospitals in July as a result is known as the July Effect.
In 2011 a systematic review of the literature was published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, by Dr. John Q. Young, MD, that showed the July Effect does exist. 45% of the higher quality studies noted an association between the influx of residents and mortality.
A study at the University of California-San Diego, examined 62 million computerized U.S. death certificates from 1979-2006. The study reported a spike in the ratio of observed and expected medication error deaths on certificates only in July.
According to U.S. News, in 2014, Anupam Jena, an internist and assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School said, “If you talk to anyone who works in a hospital…unequivocally they will tell you care is worse in July. Her conclusions are based on experience and common sense, “The interns know less than the physicians who were there a few months before.”
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