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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Tips to make sure doctors don’t tune you out

I always admire doctors who can write books criticizing their own profession, including any shortcomings they may have as practitioners, in an effort to improve patient care. In their new book, When Doctors Don’t Listen, Brigham and Women’s Hospital emergency room physicians Leana Wen and Joshua Kosowsky reveal what patients have long suspected: Doctors often tune out a patient’s story when seeking a diagnosis and simply clue in on specific symptoms, which may lead them to over-test and over-treat.

When patients utter the words “chest pain,” doctors may kick into immediate action, giving patients an aspirin to chew, an EKG to monitor their heart’s electrical activity, blood tests, and X-rays, and possibly keeping them overnight in the hospital to confirm or rule out a heart attack.

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