Doctors That Don’t Listen Are Dangerous

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

It’s no secret that doctors don’t have the best reputation for being great listeners. In fact, some studies suggest that roughly 17 seconds after patients begin to discuss their concerns with their doctor, their doctor interrupts. Now this may be because the doctor actually believes they know better, or it may be because time is money. Whatever the reason for their lack of attention, doctors that don’t listen to patients are dangerous.

Doctor errors and misdiagnosis are quite common in the medical field. Without proper communication and good listening skills, a doctor may provide a patient with the wrong diagnosis or even order expensive tests they don’t need. These time wasting attempts at treatment can actually cost the patient more than just money, but may impact their health.

When doctors don’t listen to their patients, or don’t take time to thoroughly explain their condition or treatment, there is a greater chance that the patient will not follow through with their care plan and may even suffer a greater loss than they would have had they not been treated at all. Many times, patients come to a doctor visit with several complaints, but with limited time to discuss them; their doctor may choose to treat only the main concern. Without a comprehensive consideration of all a patient’s symptoms and concerns, more serious underlying conditions may go overlooked and untreated.

Many doctor errors can be avoided by asking questions and requesting more information. Doctors may not be great listeners but their patients can be proactive about their health care. If all else fails and a misdiagnosis occurs, it may be time to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If asking a doctor to listen does not get their attention, perhaps addressing their blatant disrespect for patient care will.

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