Should I Get a Second Opinion?
If you have been diagnosed with a major medical condition, it could be advisable to get a second opinion, particularly if the diagnosis also comes along with a recommended treatment plan. Before embarking on treatments that can be costly and time consuming, a second opinion from another doctor can help you decide what the best treatment is for you and your life.
Some people hesitate to get a second opinion out of fear of offending their current doctor. This is not something to be concerned about, especially when your health is at stake. In fact most doctors encourage and understand a patient getting a second opinion for a serious health condition. A doctor who makes a patient feel as though a second opinion is not necessary should raise a red flag with patients. Most doctors will even happily recommend specialists for you to meet with for a second opinion. If you would rather not ask your doctor for a recommendation, you can also consult with your insurance company or ask around to see if anyone you know has a specialist they can recommend.
In some instances it may be a requirement from your insurance company to obtain a second opinion before claims will be covered. It could be determined that you do not need a procedure or medicine, or that there are less expensive alternatives. Of course finding less expensive alternative treatments benefits the insurance company, but depending on your deductibles and copays this could be beneficial for you, the patient, as well.
A second opinion can also save your life. While doctors are highly trained, they are still human beings and it’s possible for them to make mistakes. A different doctor could look at your condition differently or see something that the original doctor didn’t see. If you feel your doctor isn’t taking your condition seriously enough, then you should get a second opinion.
If you have decided you would like to get a second medical opinion, first you need to make sure you have gathered all the documentation you have from your current doctor. You can ask your doctor’s office for your records, or ask that they be forwarded to another doctor. Next, make sure you have specific questions ready for the second doctor. You want to let them know exactly what your questions are and what you are looking to get out of obtaining a second opinion. Finally, request that the second doctor send all his notes to you and your current doctor.
If the opinions of the two doctors differ greatly, then you need to go with your gut. Is one plan less risky or does one focus on issues that are more important to you? In the end, it is your health and your body so you need to do what you feel is truly best. There is also the option of getting a third opinion.
It may not be necessary to even go to the doctor to get a second opinion. Online second medical opinions are becoming more popular. This means obtaining a second opinion online, instead of visiting the doctor personally. You would still need to get all your records from your current doctor, and then submit them through the website. The websites also offer telephone and chat support should you need it.
When it comes to your health, there is no such thing as being too careful. If a second medical opinion would make you feel better about a diagnosis or proposed treatment plan, then it is perfectly acceptable to get one and no doctor should discourage you. With the advent of second medical opinion websites, it is easier than ever to get a second opinion from a doctor.