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Overworked doctors put their patients at risk of serious mistakes

People make appointments with primary care physicians or wait at an urgent care facility because they need treatment. Before they can get a prescription medication or a referral to a specialist, a doctor must diagnose them or refer them to someone who can diagnose them.

Medical doctors are in a position where they sometimes make life-and-death decisions for their patients. They provide the best care when they are familiar with someone’s personal and family history and have the resources available to engage in testing to confirm what is causing someone’s symptoms. Unfortunately, the pressure on modern physicians is so intense that it actually increases their risk of making a major diagnostic mistake while providing patient care.

Busy doctors don’t always have time to listen properly

The doctors at emergency rooms and urgent care facilities may sometimes have a massive influx of patients in a small amount of time, which prevents them from giving everyone the attention necessary to reach an accurate diagnosis. Even in a calmer office setting, physicians have to see so many patients each day that they can barely afford individuals the time to discuss their concerns.

Researchers have found that the average doctor only let people talk for 11 seconds before interrupting them. They may prevent a patient from providing information that would influence what conclusion they reach during their diagnostic efforts. Unfortunately, jumping to conclusions and interrupting patients could potentially result in a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, both of which can have serious consequences for the patients.

The patient may undergo the wrong kind of treatment or not receive necessary treatment in a timely fashion, which allows their condition to worsen. It is a doctor’s responsibility to carefully rule out potential causes of someone’s symptoms or affirm a specific cause before reaching a diagnosis and recommending a certain course of treatment. When a doctor fails in their diagnostic responsibility, their mistake may constitute medical malpractice.

Patients who suffer poor medical outcomes because of diagnostic errors after a rushed appointment with a doctor may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim against either the healthcare provider or their employer. Seeking compensation via a medical malpractice lawsuit can help people cover their treatment costs and lost wages while also creating consequences for the parties that failed to provide them with appropriate medical support.