Second Medical Opinion – Reasons to Get a Second Medical Opinion
Last updated date: 28-Apr-2022
7 mins read
Not only do we have to worry about illnesses and diseases, there are also risks associated with accidents which is yet another reason why doctors and healthcare practitioners are so important and are in such high demand at this moment in time.
As fantastic as these doctors and medical experts can be, the simple fact of the matter is that, at the end of the day, just like us, they too are human, and they too could potentially make mistakes when it comes to a misdiagnosis.
If you are concerned you may be ill, or if you have suffered an accident and wish to discover the extent of the damage in order to determine whether or not surgery is required or what kind of rehab and treatment options may be described, of course you should speak to your doctor. Once they have diagnosed you however, even if you’re happy with what they have said, you should always seek out a second medical opinion, and here’s a look at why.
It could potentially save your life
Now, this may sound a little dramatic, and we don’t want to scaremonger, but the truth of the matter is that seeking out a second professional medical opinion could potentially save your life.
Did you know, for example, that a study conducted at Johns Hopkins Medicine back in the year 2016, found that in the United States of America, medical errors and medical negligence ranked as the third leading cause of death?
This alone should emphasize the importance of a second opinion as a misdiagnosis, or simply failing to diagnose a serious illness or health condition by a doctor could potentially claim a life.
Seeking a second opinion means that the second doctor may discover what the previous doctor missed, or may offer a correct diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment and recovery options.
The fact that, third only to heart disease and cancer respectively, medical negligence is the third most common cause of death in the USA , this surely supports the fact that we should seek a second opinion, regardless of what our potential ailments may be.
It could offer you peace of mind
When we’re ill, or are experiencing pain or discomfort and we don’t know why, this can be very unsettling and it can lead to a great deal of physical and emotional distress.
If you speak to a doctor and are told that you have a certain disease, a certain condition, or a certain injury and you aren’t sure whether or not you actually have, a second opinion could set your mind at ease by offering peace of mind.
To begin with, a second opinion may rule out a previous diagnosis and actually diagnose something less severe, or, it could confirm the previous diagnosis. This may not sound that positive, but if you are 100% certain about what it is that is affecting you, you can then sit down with your doctor and figure out a treatment and rehabilitation strategy.
Increase your treatment options
Another great reason to get a second medical opinion is due to the fact that doing so will help you to increase your treatment options.
Even if you speak to a second doctor and they give you the same diagnosis as the first, that doesn’t mean that they will also provide you with the same treatment options.
Different doctors have different methods and by speaking to more than one you can find different options which may be more suitable for you. By getting a second opinion, you will have different options so you can weigh them up to decide which is likely to be more or less suitable for you.
Avoid unnecessary side effects and procedures
Nobody relishes the thought of going under the knife and receiving surgery, and if you speak to a second doctor after receiving your initial diagnosis, you may be able to avoid exactly that.
Say for example, your first doctor diagnosed an injury and prescribed surgery as the only viable option, speaking to a second doctor and getting a second medical opinion could change that. It could be that the second doctor takes a look at the injury and actually finds that it could be treated with rehabilitation instead of surgery.
By getting that all-important second opinion you can avoid having to go under the knife and receive invasive surgery. Not only is this less invasive, it also means that your life will be less disrupted as you can fit your rehab around your schedule instead of having to receive surgery.
You might be uncomfortable with your current options
Sticking with the theme we just looked at, if you are unhappy with your initial diagnosis or your treatment options, a second opinion could help set your mind at ease.
If you don’t like the drugs you’re been prescribed or if you don’t want to have surgery and you wish to expand your options, a second opinion is ideal. Speaking to another doctor means that they may be able to approach your injury or illness from a different perspective, and offer treatment options from a different perspective.
Your symptoms are continuing
Okay, so assuming you approached a doctor, they diagnosed an illness, prescribed a course of antibiotics or drugs, sent you on your way, and several weeks later your symptoms still persist, now it’s time to seek a second opinion.
Rather than going to the same doctor, seek out a second opinion from another medical expert and see if they come up with the same diagnosis and treatment options as the first doctor. As mentioned, different doctors have different approaches and seeking out a second opinion means that you’ll be more likely to receive a correct diagnosis or receive the correct treatment options.
You’ve been diagnosed with a rare disease
After 2020, nobody really wants to think about rare and uncommon illnesses and viruses yet unfortunately we have to.
If you speak to a doctor and receive a diagnosis for a rare and uncommon illness or disease, you should always seek out a second, and maybe even a third medical opinion from a different doctor and/or healthcare practitioner.
If your diagnosis is for a rare illness, not a lot will be known about it, which means that not a lot will be known about the treatment options.
If you get a second or third opinion, the new doctor/doctors may potentially be more experienced with that particular illness or disease. Obviously the more experienced they are, the easier they will find it to make a diagnosis and to prescribe the necessary treatment options.
Sometimes your gut feeling is right
If you receive a diagnosis, whether it be good news or bad news, if you have a feeling deep down in your gut that the diagnosis was incorrect, or that something else is wrong, you should follow your gut and get a second opinion.
Obviously gut feelings aren’t guaranteed to be correct, but only you know your body and how you truly feel and if you do think that your initial diagnosis and/or treatment options are incorrect, you should get on the phone or jump online and arrange for a visit with another doctor to receive a second opinion.
Again, if nothing more, a second opinion will help to put your mind at ease and give you some form of closure one way or another.
You aren’t getting good vibes from your doctor
The thing about human beings is that we are all different and unique. We have different personalities and character traits which means that we click with some people, and others we just don’t get on with.
If you find your doctor rude, abrupt, or are just simply finding that they are tough to get in touch with and are lacking the communication skills you would expect from a healthcare provider in their position, go ahead and get a second opinion.
Speaking to another doctor means that you not only get a second opinion regarding your ailments and treatment options, but also you get to weigh up their communication skills and their abilities as a doctor.
Finding a reliable doctor that is trustworthy and who you just feel comfortable with can make a big difference when it comes to your health and well-being, so if your first choice leaves a lot to be desired, by all means go ahead and seek a second opinion.
If there’s one thing that 2020 highlighted it’s the fact that, regardless of just how fit and healthy we may be, in reality we are all susceptible to illness and disease and we can get ill at any time.