12 December 2008

Deep Thought

Wondering why it is that my placing a stethoscope on a patient's chest is universally interpreted as a signal for the patient (or a family member) to begin talking.


  1. Dunno, but it happens to me all the time.


  2. YES! It's ridiculous how you can pretty much count on that happening every time. They either start talking or let out the loudest cough they can muster.

  3. OOOHH you are preaching to the choir! I know the feeling and then they keep talking after you tell them you are trying to listen to their lungs!

  4. That's the moment I always get somebody asking "so what do you do as a student then??"
    Which makes me want to reply "Well HOPEFULLY listening TO YOUR HEART AND LUNGS!!!"

  5. Not a Health Care Provider12/14/2008 9:06 AM

    Excellent gripe. Forgive my compulsion to make a suggestion.

    Either the patient feels awkward, or the patient sees your own silence as their chance to talk. If the latter, this is a patient who did not come to the office with a written list of topics, apparently!

    The following would work on me for sure:

    When they start to talk, take the stethoscope off. Hold it midair. You're showing nonverbally that they've interrupted you.

    Everybody has to take a breath. When they finally do move the stethoscope toward the body again. If they start to talk again, they really are not getting it, so try this: "I can listen to you, or I can listen to your heart, but not both at once."


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