Don’t Get Sick in July!

Experts say that if you’re going to get sick, don’t pick the month of July. This is the worst month to be in the hospital. And it is not due to certain planetary or star alignment phenomenon in July. Nor it is due to the fickle wrath of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. It has a much simplier explanation.

July is when the more than 21,000 newly graduate doctors enter their residency training in hospitals here in the US. The influx of the inexperienced doctors may cause the increase in medical errors in teaching hospitals as has been suggested in many studies. Though there are also some studies that are more forgiving to these new resident doctors.

Having passed that road before, I can emphatize with the new doctors; because the only way we can learn and gain experience, is to start somewhere. Learning from your mistakes though is not by all means acceptable in the field of medicine, especially if it cost a life. So I hope we always remember the principle of Primum Non Nocere (First, do no harm).

Now that I am working in a teaching institution, it is part of my responsibility that these young physicians learn and gain experience without “doing any harm”. Though I’m still a bit anxious being in charge of the ICU this month with newly minted doctors. May God help us.

So, is there a greater chance of dying in the hospital in July? I pray not in my watch.