Doorknob Syndrome

The Doorknob Syndrome is a so-called syndrome, that tries to explain the situation where a doctor has nearly finished the appointment and, has his hand on the doorknob to guide his patient out. Then this patient stops and tentatively raise a question or concern.

In itself that is no problem, but insurance companies can sometimes severely limit the time a doctor can talk to a certain patient. So, the doctor finds himself in a quandry: will he take the time to answer that question or concern or should he calmly and patiently explain that his time is limited and that other patients are waiting?
Some recommend asking each patient, not necessarily at the very beginning of the visit but early on, questions like "What else is bothering you?" or simply, "What else?"[1].

But the term Doorknob Syndrome is more of used by quacks who use it to discredit their vastly more learned colleagues, because they can freely take the time to access their patients in order to have them buy worthless sugary pills or vitamins their patients do not need. You know you're being scammed if you read sentences like 'If you want truly holistic health care and doctors who really listen to you, you will have a better chance finding it in the world of holistic and alternative medicine. Naturopathic Doctors are specifically taught the importance of taking time with each patient, and treating them as a unique individual.'.

What do you really want: a doctor who can cure you or someone who can take all the time in the world to talk to you.

[1] Cole, Bird: The Medical Interview: The Three-Function Approach. Second edition -2000

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