Is this Listening?

There’s an article in this month’s Oprah Magazine touted as “A Cure for Doctor’s Who Don’t Listen”. It’s written by a doctor, Danielle Ofri, who holds both an MD and a PhD. She gives tips on how doctors can do a better job listening.

I was appalled.

First, she tells us that studies show that doctors cut patients off after their first 12 seconds of describing their medical issues. Dr. Ofri says the doctor should wait longer, because most patients can sum up their concerns in 92 seconds. (By the way, who’s timing this?)

92 seconds? I can’t do much of anything in 92 seconds, let alone share with my doctor what’s wrong.

Here’s Dr. Ofri’s recommendation – a doctor should spend a FULL two minutes listening to a patient.


This is our health! The most important thing we have and need. I recently spent half a day with a car salesman and didn’t even buy a car. It’s a luxury to get 2 minutes from my doctor?!!!!! This is progress?

And I don’t know about you guys, but I have a high deductible and a high co-payment. The last time I spent five minutes in a doctors office, it cost me over $350 out of pocket. I felt so rushed. And definitely didn’t get to say everything I wanted.

Dr Ofri also suggests bringing a list of your concerns, so the doctor can peruse it quickly and pick the one or two issues that are REALLY important to discuss. So, everything else can and will be tabled. For when?

I know doctors are busy. Everyone’s busy, but when a customer calls my office my office, we answer ALL their questions.

My blood is boiling, but I better not see my doctor about it – she’s already given me five minutes this year!


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