Today is the day that many new doctors embark on their new careers as junior hospital doctors.
If you believe some areas of the press it is also not a good day to go into hospital on a day some describe a black Wednesday. According to the Daily Telegraph there is a 6% rise in hospital deaths on the first Wednesday in August.
So does this really mean that people should avoid this day at all costs or that lawyers should form an orderly queue outside Accident and Emergency Units waiting for new cases? According to Full Fact these figures are based on a report from 2009 which compared the number of deaths in the last Wednesday of July with those in the first one in August over a number of years. It does seem that there is an increase in death following emergency of about 6%.
But it is stretching things a bit to say that this is all down to an influx of new doctors, or somehow their fault.
I have done scores of Medical Negligence Cases over the years and there can be any number of reasons why a person might die in hospital. All that these statistics tell us is that hospital deaths appear to increase on this day compared to the week before.
But the vast majority are probably nobody’s fault. There is nothing to say how many of the deaths are caused by error, lack of supervision, natural causes, age or whatever. And to talk of a percentage increase without reference to figures is not really telling us anything.
There are reportedly over 12000 avoidable deaths a year due to hospital errors according to one recent report –
It would be a worthwhile exercise to concentrate on bringing down this figure. To simply come up with a figure that seems to point the finger at new doctors is unhelpful and hardly encouraging for them at the start of their careers.