As a patient, you depend on your doctor or other medical professional to accurately assess your symptoms, come up with a diagnosis and create a treatment plan that works to improve your life as much as possible. Unfortunately, there are times when you may want a second opinion before trusting what your doctor has to say. Even doctors occasionally make mistakes in treatment and diagnosis, and this situation can seriously affect your life. The following are reasons why you should always seek a second medical opinion.
You can seek a second opinion for virtually everything, from cancer and disease treatment options to medication and equipment. Many people fear getting a second opinion because they do not want to offend their doctor or question his or her authority, but there are ways you can handle communication with your health care professional about a second opinion to defuse the situation. As a patient, you are entitled to a second opinion regarding any condition you are uncomfortable with.
There are times when insurance companies may even require you to get a second opinion. You may not be aware of less expensive options or alternative treatments that can help minimize your condition, and your insurance company may want you to discuss those with another professional before paying for any treatment or procedure.
Before the meeting
Because you have likely been with your original doctor for years, he or she may be privy to information that a new doctor does not know. It is important that the doctor giving you a second opinion has access to everything about you and your medical history such as scans, family history and previous conditions and treatments to give an accurate diagnosis.
How to decide
Once you have a second opinion, it is time to decide who to listen to if the diagnoses are different. The American Heart Association suggests that you go with the best assessment that involves the least risk and makes the most sense for the medical issues that are particularly important to you.
As a patient, you have the right to question any diagnosis or treatment you have received. If you think your doctor did not diagnosis you correctly or is suggesting treatments you do not need, getting a second opinion may save you time, money and energy. It may also save your life. Contact an attorney to learn more about your rights as a patient.