Although the heat-stricken month of July has passed, this article from CNN might be something to keep in mind for next summer. According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, “deaths from medication errors increase by 10 percent in July.” This also happens to be the time that many medical graduate students end their time at school and begin their residencies. Furthermore, mortality rates seemed to especially spike in July in counties with teaching hospitals.
Many experts suggest that this may be due to the newfound pressure that many residents experience in their new jobs, making them unwilling to express their concerns when they do not know what to do. The National Patient Safety Foundation therefore issued recommendations to improve the hospital environment for residents in order to make residents feel more comfortable with asking questions.
Many doctors have spoken up on this research, and don’t want patients to feel unsafe in hospitals. Prescriptions go through at least one physician aside from residents, and according to pharmacist Michael Cohen, the study “looked at data before electronic prescriptions and reduced hours for medical residents.”
Regardless, experts suggest several tips, especially for the elderly, when visiting the hospital in order to avoid suffering from a medical error:
• Voice your concerns
• Choose your hospital wisely
• Don’t assume the medicine you receive is correct
• Ask questions!