Second Opinions Can Save Lives

by | May 4, 2011 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice |

Chances are good you trust your doctor. In a situation where you feel that something is just not right, you might accept without question your physician’s advice that your condition is nothing to be concerned about. Unfortunately, you would be much better off to not blindly accept your doctor’s opinion in these circumstances.

When to Question Your Doctor or Seek a Second Opinion

Health advocates now advise patients to fully question their physicians and to not be a “good patient” by settling for whatever the doctor tells them. Patients are encouraged to be a respectable annoyance, if necessary.

If medical jargon is used or if a patient does not fully understand what the nurse or doctor is advising, then the patient should not hesitate to ask for a plainer or fuller explanation. If a health provider seems annoyed or unconcerned, then the patient may consider seeing someone else, or remind the nurse or doctor that it is their health at stake and that they have every right to be fully advised.

In a situation where the patient’s medical condition is serious, it is not only helpful but even essential, that the patient seek a second opinion. Another physician may come up with a completely different diagnosis or procedure that was not considered by the first doctor, and which may save the patient’s life. For instance, a doctor may find a condition that was not detected or considered by the first doctor, or a doctor may discover the misdiagnosis of a serious illness.

Doctors Can Be Intimidating

Many patients are also intimidated by doctors because of their credentials, experience, education, and even the confusing way they sometimes explain a medical condition. Doctors, however, are often overwhelmed with their work, seeing many patients in one day, performing surgical procedures, and wading through reams of paperwork on other days.

Doctors regularly meet with patients who complain of nonexistent symptoms or who come in for very minor medical matters, so it should not be surprising if they dismiss a patient’s symptom as just another minor condition that either is exaggerated or will soon go away.

It is rare to find a physician who makes all the right decisions or who knows all the latest procedures or medical conditions. Seeking a second opinion is a right and a necessity that should be used whenever there are any concerns.


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