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Importance of Effective Communication With Your Doctor

The Importance of Effective, Respectful Communication with Your Doctor

It is easy to overlook your doctor’s poor bedside manner. After all, his or her medical knowledge and expertise is what you are ultimately relying on, not demeanor or conversational skills. However, it is important not to discount the role of effective communication with your physician. Effective communication promotes good medical care and treatment, and it reduces the risk of preventable injury.

Sir William Osler, who is known as the “Father of modern medicine” is credited with saying, “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.” Yet, most physicians don’t heed his advice. If you feel as though your doctor has interrupted you before you were finished speaking, you are not alone. A study of doctor-patient communications conducted in the early 2000s found that on average, patients were interrupted within 12 seconds upon the doctor entering the room. Twelve seconds! One fourth of the time, doctors interrupted patients before they were even finished speaking. These are sobering statistics, considering the two-way exchange of information that is necessary for an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Osler would be very disappointed.

Not only are physicians not listening, they are also not explaining well enough. A recent study of interactions between emergency room doctors and patients showed a noticeable discrepancy in the doctor’s diagnosis and the patient’s understanding of that diagnosis. Emotions and lives can be affected when poor communication leads to a misunderstood diagnosis or, worse, a missed diagnosis.

Having an opportunity to communicate with your doctor in a manner that allows you to tell your full story and feel heard is an important right that you should not forgo. You also are entitled to a complete understanding of your diagnosis, treatment, and the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment. The exclusive medical malpractice attorneys at Cleveland’s premier medical malpractice law firm, The Eisen Law Firm, regularly represent clients whose injuries could have been prevented or minimized through effective patient-physician communication. If your physician’s poor communication has resulted in injuries to you or a loved one, a free initial consultation can shed light on your rights and remedies under the law. Contact us at 216-687-0900 or online today.


About The Eisen Law Firm

The Eisen Law Firm, a Cleveland, Ohio law firm focused exclusively on medical malpractice law and wrongful death, has significant experience and success representing victims suffering a wide range of medical malpractice injuries, including birth injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries, surgical and hospital mistakes, diagnosis and treatment errors and other matters. The firm is located at 1300 East 9th Street, Suite 1200, Cleveland OH 44114. Additional information about The Eisen Law Firm and attorney Brian N. Eisen may be obtained by calling 216-687-0900 or visiting the firm’s website at

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The Eisen Law Firm: Focused on Client Service in Ohio.

With a highly selective practice focused on medical negligence cases, the trial attorneys of The Eisen Law Firm help Ohio families recover from the consequences of a doctor or hospital’s negligent mistakes. Because we work only on a few cases at a time, we’re able to concentrate on the details that can make the decisive difference to the outcome and value of your claims.