Don’t like what your doctor had to say? Ask someone else.
No one likes to be second-guessed. It hurts your feelings and causes you to feel you’re not trusted. But when it comes to your health, getting a second opinion at certain times is vital. Here are three answers to your second-opinion questions.
When should I get a second opinion?
Some health maladies call for a second opinion. Any time you are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or a disease that will require substantial treatment that will interfere with your daily life, you’ll want a second opinion. In fact, physicians will often recommend you get a second opinion in order for you to have peace of mind about the diagnosis you’ve received. They may also recommend you get a second opinion so you’ll feel comfortable about the treatment you are being recommended to undergo.
While most second opinions will be to confirm a diagnosis or a treatment choice, second opinions aren’t always used for that purpose. Sometimes, your body is telling you that something bad is going on, but your doctor simply doesn’t see it. When you feel your doctor may have overlooked a health malady, don’t simply go home and worry. Instead, contact another physician to get a second look. If there is indeed something going on inside your body that needs medical attention, getting a second opinion may mean the difference between good or bad health or in rare situations, the difference between life and death.
- Solomon Short
How do I go about getting a second opinion?
Getting a second opinion is a fairly easy process. One of the fastest ways to get one is to ask your main physician for a recommended doctor to see. You can also ask trusted family and friends for suggestions. This will help you find a physician you feel comfortable with, despite never having met him or her.
In order to get a true second opinion, make sure it is received face to face.
Though you may get good advice on the Internet or on the phone, a second opinion always requires an in person visit with a second physician. This allows the physician to examine you physically, which may help determine if other tests are required or if your first opinion was indeed spot on!
Finally, before scheduling an appointment with a doctor for a second opinion, check with your insurance company to make sure the visit will be covered. Any peace of mind you may receive from a second opinion could be ruined by a hefty medical bill that you are required to cover out of your savings account.
Won’t my physician be offended?
Doctors are very accustomed to their patients seeking second opinions. For the most part, doctors encourage second opinions, as physicians understand the value of having well-educated patients. So they should not get offended when they learn you’re seeking a second opinion.
If you think your doctor will be offended, don’t try to get a second opinion behind his or her back. During the process of getting a second opinion, you’ll have to have your medical files sent to the physician you plan to use for a second opinion, so your primary doctor will find out one way or the other. By letting your physician know you plan to get a second opinion, you avoid creating any awkward moments in the future. Regardless of whether your physician also feels awkward, these unwanted feelings may keep you from being as honest with your doctor in the future, which can put your good health at risk.