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Why are you and your doctor speaking different languages?

| Oct 20, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

You will likely be the first to admit that you do not have the level of clinical knowledge the many doctors practicing in Queens possess. At the same time, those doctors also need to recognize that you are the world’s foremost authority on yourself. However, getting both sides to understand that is often difficult. At times it may even seem as though the two of you are not speaking the same language. 

In some cases, that may be the problem. Doctors tend to use certain industry specific lingo that may not seem intuitive to you (e.g., you do not come to the ER, you “present” to the emergency department). Then there are the clinical terms used to describe medical conditions as well as your anatomy. It may seem at times that your doctor does not even attempt to explain what he or she is thinking in laymen’s terms. 

Some may say that is due to him or her simply not having time to figure out how to effectively communicate things to you. Yet research seems to suggest that as doctors increase their clinical skills, their communication skills might actually suffer. Data referenced by the National Institutes of Health states that it has been observed that as prospective doctors go through medical school, their focus on holistic care diminishes as they are forced to expand their clinical knowledge. The increased workload that then comes with internships and medical residencies can often suppress their instincts to be empathetic towards patients. 

Whether the communication problems between you and your doctor are due to time restrictions or his or her hindered ability to communicate, you should stand by the expectation that he or she will do everything needed to ensure that you are satisfied with your care. 

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