Surgeries of any capacity include risks, but what if the time of year you get one could make it more dangerous? Do you know why the summer months could pose a threat to safe surgery?
What is the July Effect?
The July Effect is an increased risk of complications in surgery and medical errors associated with the time of year.
Beginning July 1 each year, new medical school graduates go into teaching hospitals to start their residency. This is also when the previous residents are assigned elsewhere and begin learning new skills.
Is June Better?
While some may believe pushing a surgery up by a month could avoid the July Effect, complications could still arise. Throughout July, the hospital staff is on high alert, watching out for the new residents.
Comparatively, the first full year for previous residents/interns ends in June, and teaching hospitals begin to give them more freedom. Even though they have been working for a year, assistance may still be required to avoid mistakes.
What Can Hospitals Do?
- Hire doctors who have experience teaching new residents.
- Avoid large student/teacher ratios.
- Answer any questions residents may have.
- Test their knowledge.
- Don’t assume that the resident will know everything when they start.
What Can Patients Do?
- Avoid scheduling major surgeries located in teaching hospitals.
- Schedule surgery outside of the summer months.
- Be thorough in finding an experienced doctor.
- Always keep medical records on you to avoid missing information.
- Ask questions!
- If you feel hesitant, get a second opinion.
This website is not intended to provide medical advice. Patients should consult with a trained medical professional before deciding to delay or forgo surgery or other medical procedures.