You make an appointment with your primary care physician because you have issues that you cannot resolve or diagnose on your own. Perhaps you have minor but chronic symptoms that you worry could be a sign of a serious condition. Maybe you have acute symptoms that have only recently developed.
Whatever your situation, you expect your doctor to listen to you, perform necessary diagnostic testing and then order appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, the highly demanding nature of modern medical practices could mean that your doctor doesn’t have time to really talk to you or even review your medical records before they start trying to diagnose you.
When a doctor jumps to conclusions, they can make a major mistake
A recent study on the experience of patients in the United States returned very frightening results. Researchers found that the average amount of time a doctor listens to a patient is a mere 11 seconds before they start asking questions or reaching a conclusion on their own.
Doctors have to see so many patients every day and carry such a large caseload that it is effectively impossible for them to recall all the details about each patient or even review those details in depth during each appointment.
How overworked doctors can hurt patients
A rushed doctor may jump to conclusions, like assuming that your cough is the sign of a cold and not the consequence of lung cancer even though you smoked for 25 years before you finally quit. A doctor who doesn’t thoroughly review your medical records could also make a major mistake, such as prescribing a medication to which you have an allergy or that interacts with another medication you currently take.
Recognizing that your doctor may not devote their full attention to you can help you better advocate for yourself in an appointment and stand up for yourself if they make a mistake that you believe constitutes medical malpractice.