When you go to the doctor you probably believe that they’re going to listen to you for as long as it takes. Yes, you may have to wait for them to arrive at the appointment. But once you’re in a room with them, you expect to be given time to explain your symptoms, talk over potential treatments and give the doctor all of the information they need to make a diagnosis.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Studies have found that many doctors stop listening after just 11 seconds. Plus, that’s the average. For everyone who gets their doctor to listen to them for an entire minute, there are other doctors who are interrupting their patients in far less than 11 seconds.
What can you do?
Simply being conscious of this can certainly help. You can push back against a doctor who interrupts you by asking them to slow down or explaining that you have more things you would like to say before the appointment is over. Doctors are busy, but they should respect your wishes.
It can also help to bring someone along to the appointment with you or to make a list of questions you’d like to ask and key points you want to address. Both of these can help you hold the doctor accountable. The other person may be able to speak up on your behalf, for instance, and you can show the doctor your list and ask to go through it all so that you don’t forget anything before you go home.
However, it’s clear that busy doctors who are in a rush could be detrimental to your health. They may make more mistakes or fail to gather the information they need. Be sure you know about all of your legal options, especially if you think the doctor’s negligence has led to injury or a serious error that constitutes medical malpractice.