Science

Is the “July Effect” Real?

What researchers say about the supposed spike in hospital deaths when new doctors start over the summer.

You’re a critically ill patient headed to the hospital on July 5. Do you really face a greater risk of serious medical error—or even mortality—than someone who entered the hospital only one month earlier?

According to medical lore, the “July Effect” occurs when freshly graduated medical students start at hospitals in early July. Is there any data to back that up? The video above explores the research on the widely discussed phenomenon.