When it comes to getting medical advice, nothing can be more important than getting a second opinion. Getting a sound medical opinion may, quite literally, be a matter of life or death. At the very least, medical opinions and treatment options can have a widespread effect on your general well-being and overall quality of life.
What types of situations demand a second opinion?
· When you have a very serious or life-threatening illness
· When the treatment involves major surgery
· When the treatment is risky or has serious side-effects
· When you don't feel confident about your doctor's decisions
· When your diagnosis is unclear or uncertain
Why get a second opinion?
· Different doctors may offer different diagnoses for your illness
· You may have options for treatment that you would otherwise be unaware of
· Different doctors have different philosophies for treatment
How do you get a second opinion?
· Be upfront with your doctor - they should welcome your request and may be able to suggest a specialist
· Get a full copy of your records, including any test results, to take with you to the appointment
· Go to your appointments armed with specific questions
The bottom line is that it's YOUR health in question. You should feel comfortable doing what's best for you, and often getting a second opinion furthers that goal. Don't hesitate to get a second opinion out of fear for offending your doctor or making her uncomfortable. Best case scenario, you'll get an opinion that is the same or similar to your doctor's and you'll feel even more comfortable going forward with treatment. Worse case, you'll get conflicting opinions but be able to make the best and most well-informed decision for your health.