It’s what’s known as the “July Effect” – a spike in medical malpractice incidents as a result of new medical trainees beginning work at hospitals across the country. Though it sounds like fodder for a horror film, the New York Times recently reported on a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrating the phenomenon.
Data produced in this latest study showed an 8% increase in patient deaths, and even higher rates of other instances of medical malpractice, including higher hospital charges in the month of July.
The reason behind this phenomenon is that medical students begin internships in July, and in addition to the risks that come with their newness to the profession, those just starting out replace the trainees who have had a year or more’s worth of experience in the position. Moreover, students are unfamiliar with systems in place in the hospitals, and when transitioning between health care workers, sometimes not all of the information about each patient is passed along to the new provider.
With more than 20 hospitals in Illinois designated as Teaching Hospitals – hospitals in which the July changeover is an annual occurrence – the risk of medical malpractice in Illinois is alarming. Certainly hospitals can implement better precautionary and supervisory measures, and many do, but the numbers still seem to show that isn’t enough.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Unquestionably situations will arise in which you simply can’t avoid the need for medical treatment, and it is your right as a patient to receive the best possible care. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have seen hundreds of cases where unfortunate mistakes could have been avoided, and deaths could have been prevented. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, in the month of July or in any other month, you may have a valid claim for medical negligence. An attorney specializing in medical malpractice will be able to help you establish your rights.