If You’re Going to Get Sick, Do it Before July

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There's an old joke that goes, "What do you call a doctor who graduates last in his class?" Yes, he's a doctor. He's also the doctor who is most likely to be involved in a Charleston medical malpractice case, and he just might be the one looking after you if you visit a hospital in July. That, unfortunately, is no joke at all. The July Effect Causes a Surge in Medical Malpractice Incidents The July Effect has been covered by Harvard Medical School, CNN, The New York Times, and numerous other agencies. What makes the month of July unique is that it's the month in which residents and interns step up. Those with experience are promoted to new positions, and those who are fresh out of school move into a hospital setting for the very first time, taking on the same responsibilities the experienced residents just vacated. So, if you go to a teaching hospital in July, you'll be treated by the doctor who was last in his class, or maybe even first, but either way, he'll be learning with you. Medical Errors Result in an Increase in Fatalities in July The July Effect has been researched numerous times, though one particular study had surprising results. Researchers looked at deaths that occurred from 1979 to 2006 and compared cause of death, as well as which month the fatalities occurred in. They also made note of whether the deaths occurred at a traditional hospital or a teaching hospital. Every single year, teaching hospitals had a spike in deaths in July. Traditional hospitals did not see any significant changes. Most remarkably, a 10% increase in deaths due to medication errors was noted. How Medication Errors Kill According to Forbes Magazine, around 1.5 million people are sickened, and 100,000 people die, due to medication mistakes. Doctors are prone to:

  • Overprescribe Medication
  • Provide Incorrect Dosing Information
  • Overlook Potential Drug Interactions
  • Fail to Recognize Early Symptoms of Allergies or Side Effects
  • Confuse Similar-Sounding Medications
  • Prescribe Medications that are Unsafe for the Patient's Age Group

At the same time, patients sometimes contribute to the medication-related deaths by:

  • Mixing Medications with Alcohol
  • Combining Over-the-Counter Medications with Prescription Medications
  • Failing to Notify the Doctor of other Medications

Certain People Are More Likely to Have a Medication Error Research shows that people age 65 and older have a higher risk of dying from a medication error. Those taking antidepressants and antihistamines increase their risk even more.

Charleston Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you've been hurt because a doctor made a mistake, whether it was a medication error or another kind, you may be entitled to compensation. A court may award you funds to help with your ongoing medical bills, time away from work, and other expenses you accrue. For a free case evaluation, please contact us using our online form, or speak directly to one of our attorneys now by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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