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Poor Communication With Your Healthcare Provider Can Have Serious ConsequencesJillian Knowles is an emergency medicine physician assistant in Philadelphia. Earlier this year, she and a friend were preparing for a trip to Europe that spanned Spain and France. They planned on hitting all the tourist hot spots, spending hours a day on their feet.

Just before the pair was scheduled to depart, Jillian visited a dermatologist to have an unusual mole on her leg removed. During the appointment, she found out that the mole was melanoma, and scheduled a new appointment to have a common procedure called a wide excision performed. She asked her dermatologist an important question; would she still be able to go on her trip after the procedure? Her doctors’ response? “You’ll be fine.”

The procedure left here with a large open wound on her leg; hardly the ideal situation for someone planning a walking tour of multiple foreign countries. The procedure made her leg numb at first, and the long flight time left her unable to elevate the wound. The leg began to swell, and the sutures cut in to her flesh, causing extreme pain. The wound also leaked fluid, requiring constant bandage changes.

Time to change the game

Fortunately, Jillian is a medical professional herself. She survived the trip unscathed, but with a new appreciation for her patients’ concerns about medical procedures. She wrote a blog on Clinical Advisor about her experience. In it, she explains her insights and how it changed her interactions with her patients”

“I try to tell patients what to expect with their injuries in painstaking detail: ‘You will have discharge, and that is normal. You will have swelling, and that is normal.’ I go into even more detail about what isn’t normal and when they should come back. As providers, we really need to dig deeper into our patients’ lives to give them the best education possible. We need to open the lines of communication as much as we can to get a better understanding of what our patients will be going through.”

Jillian’s experience highlights the need for better communication with our doctors. In our busy world, too often are legitimate concerns overlooked. When you visit a doctor, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Take the time to get your questions answered to your satisfaction; nothing is more important than your health.

When your doctor fails to inform you adequately, you can suffer complications and unnecessary pain. In a doctor-patient relationship, information is a two-way street. When that communication breaks down, patients suffer needlessly. If you or someone you know has suffered because of a healthcare provider’s inaction or poor communication, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, can help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today or call 803-327-7800 for a free consultation.