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Some medical malpractice could come down to communication skills

Despite years of general and specialized medical training, doctors continue to misdiagnose patients at a fairly surprising rate. California patients might be left wondering if all that training is actually enough to avoid instances of medical malpractice, and if not, what is missing? One expert believes he may know what critically important lesson is missing from doctor's educations -- communication skills.

During the course of a career, the average doctor will have approximately 200,000 interactions with his or her patients. However, physicians do not actually receive any training on strategies for communicating with their patients, and it shows. After asking a question, most doctors interrupt their patients' answers about 18 or so seconds in. Allowed to continue without interruption, most patients continue for about a minute and a half.

Further research indicates that doctors may feel the need to interrupt their patients based on unfounded worries that they will continue on for an extended period of time. Additionally, the results of the study also found that a significant number of physicians fail to ask questions that could really get to the root of a patient's problem, such as inquiring about any further symptoms that were not initially mentioned. Without taking the effort to make sure that they have all of the relevant information, making the correct diagnosis might not just be difficult -- it could be impossible. 

An accurate and correct diagnosis is a necessary first step to receiving the right course of treatment or medication. However, if a California doctor fails to engage in the communication that could lead to that diagnosis, a misdiagnosis or complete failure to diagnose could result, leaving the patient at further risk for injury. Any time that a patient is injured because of the negligent actions of a medical professional is one time too many, and action in the form of a civil suit might be possible. Once successfully litigated or settled, a medical malpractice can help victims achieve compensation that fully addresses the damages related to his or her injuries.

Source: LinkedIn, "Can You Guess the Most Common Medical Procedure?", Toby Cosgrove, July 7, 2015

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