Life is unpredictable. You can’t anticipate every turn of events that could lead to a hospital stay. However, if you’re having elective surgery or treating a non-urgent condition, you may have some flexibility in scheduling your procedure. If at all possible, it’s wise to avoid hospital treatment in the summer months—particularly in July.
Why does the month matter?
Teaching hospitals operate on a fixed rotation. At the start of the summer, the most experienced residents graduate and move on to another assignment. At the same time, a new freshman class of residents arrives. These doctors-in-training will be treating patients for the first time in their careers—at a time when the residents most qualified to train them no longer work there.
The new residents will do much of their learning on the job. As with a new hire at any job, they’re bound to make mistakes. In July, teaching hospitals see:
- A spike in complications during surgery
- An increased number of prescription errors
- Extended hospital stays
- More drawn-out procedures
- 8 – 34 percent more patient deaths
If you hired a summer intern to assist with your bookkeeping, you probably wouldn’t hand over the company’s complete financial records during their first week on the job. You’d start them out with basic administrative tasks. You’d wait until they gained greater knowledge of the inner workings of the organization before entrusting them with greater responsibilities.
The same rule holds true in teaching hospitals. The timing of your hospital stay can affect your likelihood of a smooth experience. If you have an open timeframe in which to have your medical procedure, it could pay to schedule it in a colder month.