January and July 'riskiest months to have surgery' - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie
According to research from the RCSI, January and July are the riskiest months to have surgery and this is because Junior doctors start their placements in these months. A superficial look at the figurers would cause one to question this hypothesis and ask if the statistical anomalies are significant and also if they can be adequately explained by same.
According to the findings 24% of incidents of negligence occur in 16.66% of the months of the year. This may seem to indicate a slightly elevated risk at these times of year.
But if you look at the figures for the individual months you notice that 10% of incidents of negligence occur in 8.33% of the months of the year for July and 14% of accidents for 8.33% of the months of the year in January. Further, if you calculate these statistics based on the number of days in the year then they become 10% of incidents for 8.5% of days in July and 14% of incidents for 8.5% in days for January.
These figures are of course much less stark and one would question if the 10% of incidents to 8.5% of days statistic for July is significant as compared to other months at all. Presumably the distribution across the other 10 months of the year is not uniform and there are other peaks and troughs.
At a superficial level it seems like there might be a case of scapegoating junior doctors here and the figures as presented certainly don't mount a convincing case. Certainly not for July, and with the lack of explanation for the discrepancy between the July and January figures one would have to ask if other factors are at play such as annual leave, alcohol intake among patients, alcohol intake among doctors, general health levels at those times of year and other multitudes of factors. It seems like with road safety issues, the reporting of research like this and possibly the research itself is lacking.