The most basic duty that any doctor has is to listen and pay attention to you. If they don’t listen, and don’t take the time to perform a thorough examination, they will never get the information they need to actually help you. A doctor who doesn’t listen to your symptoms of chest pain isn’t going to try to find out what is causing your chest pain. A doctor who doesn’t examine your child carefully is going to miss symptoms of meningitis. A nurse who rushes through getting your information in an emergency department isn’t going to write down what needs to go into your records. And then every doctor or nurse who sees you, or your child or your family after that is going to rely on that bad exam, and that incomplete record, and you will never get the help you need.
Nobody who has been to a doctor’s office or emergency room in the last 10 years can possibly miss what’s going on. You wait longer to see a doctor, you’re treated like a number and hustled into a tiny room to wait even longer, and when the doctor sees you now he doesn’t have time to actually talk to you. The actual time you spend with the doctor is five minutes, or less.
I don’t care how good the doctor is, or thinks he is, that isn’t good medicine.
In an increasing number of the cases that we are handling in Texas and Arkansas, we’re seeing what happens when doctors and hospital corporations try to make more and more money by seeing more and more patients in less and less time. Did you know that in emergency rooms and big corporate doctors’ office, they actually plan that each doctor will see 25 to 30 patients in eight hours. That’s their plan. Doing the math shows what happens next: there are 480 minutes in 8 hours. 480 minutes divided by 30 patients means 16 minutes per patient–but only if the doctor never takes a break to eat lunch, make a phone call to his family or friends and never has to use the restroom. And even if the doctor does none of these things that every other human being does, he still can’t spend 16 minutes with you if he ever takes any time to dictate or writes notes into the records about the exams he does, or if he ever takes time to look at your prior medical records. If a doctor takes just an hour and a half of breaks in an eight hour day, and spends just an hour and a half dictating records and reviewing prior records on his patients, that means that he now has less than ten minutes to spend with any patient, no matter how serious their complaints.
That’s crazy, but that is the way medicine for profit works these days. Doctors and corporations get a set amount for seeing a patient. To make more money, they see more patients in the same amount of time, until you end up with doctors and hospitals who are all about the money and care very little about the patients they see so briefly.
The results in the cases we are handling are just what you would expect: people get hurt, and people die.