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Medical tip: Try not to get sick in July

Here's a seven-month heads-up. Keep your heart healthy now, because the last thing you want is to get sick in July.

It's been suspected for years that the summer months were the worst time to find yourself in the hospital because that's when many vacationing doctors are replaced by an eager but inexperienced crop of newly minted medical school graduates. This conventional wisdom appears to be somewhat true.

A new study shows that while the "July effect" may be minimal or nonexistent for most patients, it can be a serious problem for those admitted for a heart attack. Researchers said even "small errors" can be devastating to these high-risk patients.

The study, from researchers at Harvard Medical School, Stanford University Hospitals, University of Southern California and the Rand Corp., was published in the journal Circulation in October.

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