When Is It a Good Idea to Seek a Second Opinion?
A second opinion may be necessary during the diagnosis, if a doctor does not listen, during the treatment and after the treatment has been completed.
There is not a single doctor in the Cleveland area who is perfect, yet many patients fear getting a second opinion. According to the Center for Advancing Health, many doctors see second opinions as a normal part of their day. While people may hesitate in making this kind of choice, they need to understand that doctors often interpret symptoms differently, and their training may not have prepared them for what the patient is experiencing. Oftentimes, patients seek another view when the diagnosis seems serious, but this is not the only time when it is appropriate to get more insight.
During the Diagnosis Stage
Doctors misdiagnose diseases more often than people may think. Because of that, the Cleveland Clinic suggests patients should seek more advice during the disease analysis process. This second opinion may help the patient determine whether the right diagnosis was made, all of the tests were completed and the tests were correctly understood. Getting the right diagnosis is an important part of figuring out the best treatment plan.
If the Doctor Does Not Listen
According to Fox News, one study indicates that interruptions are common during medical examinations. Additionally, during the average exam, doctors spend about 20 minutes talking with their patients and that time may not be productive. For example, a man is describing his symptoms to his doctor, but a knock at the door interrupts his train of thought. Once the interrupting nurse leaves, the man starts rattling off his symptoms again, but the doctor gets distracted by the electronic charts and only half listens to what is being said.
How is the doctor supposed to accurately diagnose a disease if the patient is not heard? During situations like this, it may be prudent for a second opinion to be pursued.
When the Treatment Is Questionable
For many diseases, there are multiple treatment options available. Each of these treatments may have their own price, risks and positives. If the doctor suggests a risky procedure, it may be a good idea for the patient to hear what another specialist thinks.
Similarly, if a treatment is not completely necessary, it could be a good idea to get another opinion. Elective surgeries may be equally dangerous to emergency surgeries, so they should not be undertaken lightly.
After the Treatment
It may be prudent for some patients to get another viewpoint even after the treatment has been completed, according to Breastcancer.org. At this point in the path of a disease, a second opinion could help a patient feel more secure in the decisions that were made. For example, a second doctor may back up decisions that have already been made or give advice as to the steps that should be taken from that point on.
It can be hard for Ohio patients to seek out second opinions, but it is also an important part of the diagnosis and treatment process. Without another expert view, patients may find themselves victims of medical malpractice, in which case they may need to contact a knowledgeable attorney.