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Patients quickly interrupted by doctors, study finds

A study found that patients in North Carolina and elsewhere may not have enough time to explain why they are visiting their doctors. The study looked at 112 cases between 2008 and 2015 involving initial interactions between medical professionals and patients that were taped throughout the country. One of the key takeaways was that a doctor interrupted a patient just 11 seconds on average after he or she started to talk.

The researchers noted that interrupting a patient could be a good way to refocus the conversation. However, they also had doubts that there was a benefit to doing so during the first part of a visit. It was also noted that primary care doctors gave more leeway than specialists. This was partially because specialists already had an idea as to why a patient scheduled an appointment. A lack of time allotted to spend with patients was another reason given as to why they were not always allowed to speak.

Those who were involved with the study also say that burnout or a lack of communication skills could also be reasons why patients were frequently interrupted. Regardless, they say that it suggests that more can be done to better focus on the needs of the patient. The study was published in Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Failing to respect a duty of care toward a patient could lead to a charge of medical professional negligence. For instance, if a doctor doesn't take into account patient statements when making a diagnosis, that could be construed as a breach of that duty. People who have been harmed because of that breach may want to discuss their situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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