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Why Do Doctors Ignore Symptoms?


“Why do doctors ignore symptoms?” this is a common concern for many people. Watch our video below to find out the answer and learn more about the pertinence of information when gathering data for cases like retroperitoneal sarcoma.


Learn More:

What Happens To Doctors Guilty Of Malpractice?

Can You Sue a Doctor for Failure to Diagnose?

What Can Doctors Do To Prevent Medical Malpractice?


Video Transcript

0:00 Intro
0:46 Why Do Doctors Ignore Symptoms? Pertinence Of Information
2:01 Retroperitoneal Sarcoma (RPS)

When I was a medical resident, now many years ago, I had a professor who used to say, ‘Bill, when all else fails, listen to the patient’,

0:46 Why Do Doctors Ignore Symptoms? Pertinence Of Information

I’ve always found that to be good advice. Sometimes doctors will focus on a snippet, and for lack of a better term, miss the forest full of trees. Also, patients tell the physician a significant amount of information, some of which may be pertinent and some of which may not. The doctor needs to identify the pertinent information and focus on that and expand his or her line of questioning in taking a history to look at what’s pertinent.

Why do they sometimes deny or fail to consider what the patient says? Sometimes it’s time-related, maybe they’re rushed, they have other people waiting. But the long and short of it is if you have a patient who gives you a history and maybe a workup is ordered, maybe it includes lab work, x-rays, other studies of some kind. Let’s just say all of that comes back completely normal. The patient comes back in, the physician reviews this with the patient and the patient looks the physician in the eye and says, ‘doctor, I just know something’s wrong’. That’s something to listen to.

2:01 Retroperitoneal Sarcoma (RPS)

I had a gentleman who had the exact same scenario, vague vague symptoms. I did the workup that you normally would do. Nothing really showed up. He gave me that history. He said, ‘you know, something’s wrong and I know it. I went back, did a CT scan of his abdomen and pelvis, found he had a retroperitoneal sarcoma, a very aggressive cancer that was actually outside of his abdominal cavity back in the area the kidneys, the ureters, and the aorta. But we picked it up on the CT. We were able to pick it up fairly quickly. He was able to be seen by an oncologist, received chemotherapy, and now he’s alive in his very late 80s and still leading a fruitful life.

Again, remember that paradigm, when all else fails, listen to the patient.



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