Hospital Deaths . . . Most Dangerous Month - July?

Is July the most dangerous month of the year to be in an American hospital? If experience of the doctors were the determining factor, it certainly should be.

Consider that the medical school year ends in June in the United States and that the hospital training programs start in July. So, in hundreds of teaching hospitals, there are thousands of young physicians who are brand new at their jobs.

But what are the facts?

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, the death rate per 1,000 total population on a monthly basis in 1996 was as follows:

  • January 9.8
  • February 9.2
  • March 9.2
  • April 8.8
  • May 8.8
  • June 8.2
  • July 8.3
  • August 7.8
  • September 8.3
  • October 8.3
  • November 8.8
  • December 8.9

For the year 1996 as a whole, the death rate was 8.7.

Back to July. Note that the death rate in July was 8.3. It was LESS deathridden than the average month in 1996.

Incidentally, the month with the highest death rate, January, is as far away from July as you can get in the calender!

Source: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, Monthly Vital Statistics Report (July 17, 1997).

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Last Editorial Review: 10/28/2002