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What to do if your doctor doesn’t listen

There have been studies that show that doctors simply don’t listen to their patients. For instance, one study discovered that they tend to interrupt after just 11 seconds. In some cases, it was much shorter than that.

If you go to the doctor this happens to you, it can be very frustrating. When you having a health complication, you’re probably thinking about it all the time. You’re worrying about it, researching it, learning as much as you can and coming up with a whole list of symptoms and questions that you want to talk to your doctor about.

But then they interrupt you after just 11 seconds and you don’t get to say anything. You’re worried that the doctor’s lack of attention is going to lead to serious medical mistakes, from never events to a missed diagnosis. How can you prevent this?

Make a list

Start by making a list before every doctor’s office visit. Write down every question you want to ask and every symptom you want to mention. Not only does this help you remember, but it gives you an easy way to bring up these topics because you can just tell your doctor you want to look at the list. They may still interrupt, but you have an easy way to circle back.

Bring someone else

People are often nervous or worried at the doctor’s office. You may not be in a good mental space to speak up when you get interrupted. Bringing someone else who knows what you want to say can help because they act as an advocate and speak up if the doctor cuts you off.

Seek a second opinion

It may become clear to you that none of the tactics you use are going to make your doctor take this as seriously as you would like them to. If this makes you feel like you’re not getting proper care, remember that you can always seek a second opinion. Not all doctors treat their patients this way, and it can be very helpful to look for an appropriate medical team.

Do you deserve compensation?

If your doctor doesn’t listen well enough and you end up getting substandard medical care as a result, you may want to look into your legal options. You could deserve significant compensation for a surgical mistake, a delayed diagnosis or any other serious error.