Doctors that dont listen can impact your health, maybe even your life

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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 4:04 pm | Updated: 5:12 pm, Tue Oct 29, 2013.

Do you have important information for your doctor, but get the feeling that they aren't really listening to you?

You've heard people talk about the elevator pitch as an effective strategy to grab the attention of a prospective employer. Well, using that strategy with your doctor can save your life. Now insiders are sharing tips on how to make sure your doctor is really paying attention to your medical needs.

A trip to the ER can be scary, but a misdiagnosis can be deadly.

In their new book "When doctors don't listen," ER doctors Leana Wen and Joshua Kosowsky spell out critical mistakes doctors and patients often make when they fail to communicate. Dr. Wen said, "It's so easy for doctors to order a test, like a cat scan or an MRI or blood tests, but it's really important to know why every test is done and what the diagnosis is in advance." She explained that symptoms are important, but a patient's history can be even more valuable. "Eighty-percent of your diagnosis can be made just based on your history." She said.

Since you know your time with a doctor is limited, you have to grab their full attention in the first ten seconds.

Dr. Kosowsky, said, "Doctors are not listening to their patients. They're hearing the words they say, but they are not really listening."

To get them to really listen doctors suggest practicing your high impact story, said Dr. Wen. "For example, 'I've been so short of breathe that I can't walk from the bed to the bathroom without getting very short of breathe.' That really gets the doctor's attention, and then it should have a couple of short sentences that talk about how they got to where they are and how it has impacted their life." The added details could prevent a misdiagnosis and unnecessary and potentially dangerous testing.

The doctors suggest practicing your story at home, even writing it down on paper so you won't forget anything. and if your doctor still doesn't listen, you should find a new one.

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