You don’t give a succinct, accurate summary of your symptoms
An ER doctor doesn’t have the time to listen to all your health problems from the time you were born. They have a waiting room packed with patients and often not enough doctors to go around; don’t encourage them to rush to a potential misdiagnosis by keeping your health history short and sweet. “Patients have to understand that doctors need a simple, fairly straightforward summary of the sequence of events that happened to them,” says David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Neuro-Visual & Vestibular Disorders at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Simply tell them what brought you to the ER, and be as precise and chronological as possible in your description. Doctors reveal other ways patients can screw up in the ER.
You don’t keep a health journal
The moment you start feeling unwell or experiencing unusual aches and pains, write it down. Documenting the symptom and frequency not only gives you an accurate health summary to tell the doctor, but also helps them get a clear picture so they can properly diagnose you. “Pay attention to patterns,” says Nicole Franks, MD, Chief Quality Officer at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta, Georgia. “Often when a patient presents with a problem and there’s no clear explanation, there’s an acknowledgement that something’s going on but it may not be identified.” You can also use a fitness tracker to help keep tabs on your health.