People make errors regularly, and doctors aren’t immune from making mistakes either. Studies have shown that 5% of patients today receive a misdiagnosis from healthcare practitioners annually. It means that every 20th patient in the country doesn’t receive an accurate diagnosis from their physician. How do patients remedy this situation? They often approach another doctor for what we call a “second opinion.”
The medical industry is not unfamiliar with the concept of patients trying to verify a diagnosis by the primary physician. But is this just a waste of your time? Some patients are confused about the benefits of seeking a second opinion. So, we will discuss here some plausible reasons to refer to another doctor.
Why should you seek a second opinion?
A Gallup survey indicates that around 30% of Americans have sought a second medical opinion. However, remember that seeking a second opinion doesn’t discredit your initial doctor’s analysis. It’s just that patients at times aren’t entirely satisfied with their physician’s assessment and want to seek another specialist’s suggestion.
Suppose you’re not satisfied with the treatment strategy suggested by your doctor. In that case, you must consult another specialist to ensure that the advised treatment strategy is perfect for you. But there are some compelling reasons why patients should never forget getting another medical opinion. We shall leverage statistics and rock-hard facts to show why seeking a second opinion may even save your life:
- If you’re diagnosed with a rare disease
Indeed, it’s alarming to discover that you’ve been diagnosed with something peculiar and unique. What if your doctor interprets your symptoms as mesothelioma? It’s a rare asbestos-caused disease in which a person’s life expectancy is diminished significantly. In such situations, experts recommend getting a second opinion to ensure that the physician’s diagnosis wasn’t erroneous. Then you may consider surgery, radiation, or options such as chemotherapy to alleviate your symptoms. So, contact specialists for the proper diagnosis.
- You may wish to speak with a specialist
Patients often seek doctors who are friendly and compassionate. But we insist that you also search for physicians specializing in treating your condition. So, patients diagnosed with a disease as rare as mesothelioma should receive a second medical opinion from cancer experts. Getting another opinion from a specialist can help you discover various treatment options. Moreover, experts can bring you closer to the necessary resources patients must have to fight an illness like cancer.
- Your treatment is/was not satisfactory
Suppose you’re not satisfied with the treatment you’ve received. You went for checkups regularly, but there’s no betterment in your condition. What should be your next step? Now, it’s viable to receive another medical opinion. It’ll ensure that you receive proper medical care and facilities the previous physician wasn’t qualified to provide. So, discuss your condition with two or more doctors before deciding which physician seems like the best person to handle your medical issues.
- You’re diagnosed with a dangerous disease
If the disease isn’t peculiar but dangerous, you should contact another doctor and receive their opinion regarding your condition. A study surveyed seventy patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. But a second opinion changed that diagnosis for 43% of them. You shouldn’t just ignore the possibility of the primary physician being possibly mistaken about your initial diagnosis. Therefore, it can help your case if you receive another specialist’s opinion of your condition.
- You want your diagnosis to be definite
Many patients aren’t sure that their doctor has probably mistaken their condition for another similar disease. Truthfully, this happens a lot in the healthcare field. Yale Medicine reports that many doctors often misdiagnose Wilson disease as early Parkinson’s because the symptoms look eerily similar. And if you unknowingly go ahead with the wrong diagnosis and treatments, it might lead to irreversible damages. Fortunately, a second opinion can eliminate the chances of these mistakes.
- If your symptoms keep reappearing
You must not neglect to receive another opinion if your symptoms persist even after receiving health suggestions from your primary physician. The treatment is supposed to make you better and prevent you from falling victim to that health condition again. Suppose you haven’t recovered from the illness even after undergoing treatment. In that case, it means you need to get another doctor’s opinion immediately. So, reach out to another specialist for their expert opinion to get better from your miserable condition.
- If you feel rushed by your doctor
A survey by CDC states that patients spend just twenty minutes at a doctor’s appointment. This brief dialogue isn’t sufficient for patients to have every question answered. And during such hurried meetings, the doctor may suggest a procedure that isn’t required. Statistically speaking, 2% of patients are recommended surgery by their physician when they don’t need one at all. You can now avoid these problems by getting a second opinion. Additionally, ensure your doctor listens to your issues attentively.
- There’s no single right treatment
The clinical literature permits several strategies for treating one specific condition. For instance, mental health patients are medicated for their ailments or receive therapy/counseling. Similarly, breast cancer patients can choose between mastectomy and lumpectomy to get better. A second opinion allows people to find an ideal solution or a solution with which they’re comfortable. And that’s why you shouldn’t disregard the value of second or third opinions.
- It can give you some reassurance
Are you worried about your doctor being mistaken? If so, then a second opinion is what you need.
Getting another medical opinion enables such patients to receive some reassurance regarding the treatment strategy suggested by their primary physician. Sometimes, if the patient’s family members aren’t sure about the diagnosis, a second opinion may restore their confidence. It also brings some peace of mind regarding the integrity of the physician’s verdict.
- It can change the initial diagnosis
In the end, has getting a second opinion ever changed the primary physician’s diagnosis? You might get surprised to learn that it causes a change in diagnosis/therapy for some 50% of patients nationwide in Germany. Studies have also confirmed that one-fifth of American patients decided to change their treatment strategies altogether after receiving another medical opinion. It shows that these second opinions can change the initial diagnosis drastically and enable patients to make better decisions.
We’ve learned that doctors often misdiagnose patients or suggest treatment strategies that aren’t that satisfactory. As a result, patients are often compelled to seek a second medical opinion to ensure that they have received optimal medical care. Suppose you have been diagnosed with a severe illness like cancer or a rare one like mesothelioma. In that case, you shouldn’t hesitate to see another doctor. It can make the primary physician’s diagnosis more effective while allowing you to consider options about the procedure of healing. So, don’t disregard the importance of speaking with a specialist well after consulting with the primary physician. Make your treatment more effective by leveraging another doctor’s insights as well.