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Doctors may not listen for long enough to diagnose patients accurately

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical malpractice manifests in many forms. Sometimes it looks like a doctor coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol and doing something very dangerous. Other times, it might be negligence on the part of a physician that leads to someone having a bad medical outcome.

For many people, medical malpractice claims begin with a diagnostic error. Patients rely on their physicians to determine what causes their symptoms. An accurate diagnosis can lead to truly informed treatment options. Frustratingly, many doctors make the wrong determination when evaluating someone’s situation. One of the many reasons that diagnostic errors are so common in the United States is that physicians don’t often afford patients the time and attention they need and deserve.

Many doctors only listen for a few seconds

According to research based on information provided by physicians themselves, many licensed medical doctors start jumping ahead to conclusions or interrupting someone after just 11 seconds. Doctors cut their patients off or stop listening after less than a quarter of a minute on average. Either a presumption on their part about what may have caused the issue or the constant pressure to get as many appointments in as possible will prompt a doctor to cut a patient short. They may recommend certain care, but it may not actually resolve the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Only listening for 11 seconds might mean that a doctor only hears two of the eight symptoms that a patient has experienced or that they may not understand the full scope of what the patient wants to convey. They may then end up diagnosing someone with the wrong condition or failing to diagnose them with anything.

Both of those mistakes would likely lead to a delay in treatment and possibly to someone receiving the wrong kind of treatment given their actual diagnosis. Those who cannot seem to get sufficient time with their doctor to communicate about their health issues may end up having a worse medical outcome as a result of this limited access. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a way for those affected by overworked and inattentive physicians to recoup any lost wages and medical expenses caused by a diagnostic failure.