Second Opinions: Don’t Feel Bad

All Beyond Coverage April 12, 2016

Facing a diagnosis, serious or not, can be overwhelming. One tenth of newly diagnosed patients rarely, and sometimes never, understand their diagnosis. And whether you understand it or not, treatment can start moving quickly. You may feel stuck on your path, along for the ride.

But what if you aren’t sure about your diagnosis or your treatment? This is the time to seek a second opinion.

A Patient’s Right

Seventy percent of Americans will never seek a second opinion and simply trust their diagnosing doctor. However, it is your right as a patient to learn about other options in order to know all of the avenues that are open to you.

Even if you think your diagnosis may be correct, you can seek a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis in order to make sure you really have what you’ve been told you have.

Will Your Doctor Be Mad?

Doctors expect you to have questions and concerns. This is your health and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Doctors usually welcome a second opinion because, if they are correct, it will be a confirming diagnosis. If a doctor attempts to deter you from seeking a second opinion, it may be due to a lack of confidence in their diagnosis.

Know Your Options

At the end of the day, doctors are people, too. They can make mistakes, and it’s possible for them to diagnose symptoms incorrectly.

There can also be more than one approach to solving the same problem. It’s important to evaluate the pros and cons so you can receive the best care possible for you. Aggressive and invasive treatments may not always be the way to go or they could be exactly what you need.  It’s all about what’s right for you.

Different doctors often have different opinions on how to approach a symptom or diagnosis. For example, according to the Patient Advocate Foundation, 30% of patients who sought second opinions for elective surgery found that the two opinions were different.

Knowing the options available to you will put you back in control of your health and enable you to make an informed choice on your treatment path.  Never feel guilty when it comes to making sure you are receiving the best care possible. It’s your right to find the best course of action for your health.

Learn more about TopDoc Connect, a specialist matching service.

“Second Opinions.” Patient Advocate Foundation.
“Too Many Patients Forgo Getting a Second Opinion.” Boston Globe.
“A Patient’s Guide to Second Opinions.” U.S. News.
“Half of Americans Don’t Get a Second Opinion.” NBC News.

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