Study claims hospital deaths spike in July

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The so-called July Effect is not a new concept to doctor Scott Dickson. He heads up the three year family practice residency program housed on the St. Bernard's Medical Center campus. Dickson says the July Effect is a theory that's been out there for years.

"There has always been a hypothesis that medication errors increase in July because that's when they first start their job," says Dr. Dickson.

He believes this latest research conducted by the University of California is leaving some other key medical professionals out of the mix.

"In actuality there are a lot of medical professionals other than medical residents that start their job in July that include: nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, radiation technologists," says Dr. Dickson.

A third year resident and chief residency doctor himself Travis McClure says in his program they're not just thrown to the wolves. He says they are carefully looked after by faculty members. He says the second and third year residency doctors also make sure to keep an eye on the first years.

"Not only that there's other doctors outside the program that help us and lend a hand during times that we have questions," says Dr. McClure.

The doctors attend at least one lecture a day and all of the faculty and residency doctors sit down at least once a day to discuss patients in detail.

"In addition to that we have clinical pharmacists that review all of the medications the residents prescribe on a daily basis so there are multiple safety checks and balances that are in place at residency programs that help prevent medication error," says Dr. Dickson.

No matter what you think about this so-called July Effect there is no doubt these first year doctors are critical to everyone's future.