The few moments that you spend with your doctor when you have a serious health concern may be the most important part of your day. You may restructure your entire schedule around that brief appointment.
For your doctor, it is just one of many appointments that make up their daily workload. Your doctor simply won’t view the situation in the same way that you do. It is incumbent upon you to impress upon the doctor how serious the situation seems from your perspective and to push them to reach an appropriate diagnosis.
Unfortunately, doctors are often so overworked that they cannot fully focus on diagnosing someone who needs their help.
Doctors often feel rushed at work
The days when physicians were their own bosses are long gone. Most medical doctors work for corporate practices these days. They have to see dozens of patients a day and maintain hundreds of patients in their overall roster. Such a heavy patient load prevents them from remembering details about their individual patients.
Beyond that, the doctor will only have a little bit of time to spend with each patient they see during the day. Researchers have found that the typical physician can only commit about 11 seconds to listening to a patient before they interrupt and start attempting to reach their own conclusion.
What does this mean for you? You will need to be your own best advocate when conversing with a doctor about your health concerns. Some of the ways that you can protect yourself include keeping a written list of your symptoms so that you don’t forget to tell the doctor something important and being very direct about how serious the impact of those symptoms has been on your daily lived experience.
When doctors don’t listen, patients suffer
Your doctor will have a very difficult time reaching the right diagnosis when they don’t have the time or mental bandwidth to listen to and evaluate your symptoms. A doctor who doesn’t listen might reach the wrong diagnosis or may fail to diagnose you at all. That you could go weeks without treatments or undergo the wrong care given the condition you have.
Diagnostic mistakes are one of the more common forms of medical malpractice, and they can be particularly frustrating for patients who sought medical intervention when they first needed it. Fighting back against medical malpractice could lead to better employment habits at your doctor’s office and therefore less risk for other patients in the future.