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Finding a Second Opinion: What to Do When You Don’t Totally Agree With Your Doctor

You’ve had medical tests performed, and the diagnosis doesn’t seem quite right to you. What should you do? Do you just take the doctor’s word for it? Do you hinge your health on the opinions of others? Shockingly, there are more than 20 million people who receive the wrong diagnosis each year, which equates to one in 20 individuals. You should get a second opinion to ensure that the diagnosis you receive is correct.

Second Opinions Are Normal

If you’ve been diagnosed with an illness or, on the flip side, told that there is nothing wrong with you when your symptoms tell you otherwise, it’s normal to want a second opinion. You may have many thoughts and feelings on the matter, and you just want to make sure that your doctor didn’t miss something or make a mistake. It’s your right as a patient to ask for a second doctor to review your files. Many people don’t get the second opinion because they feel that it will offend their doctor or that it will make them upset. However, people ask for this consultation all the time. If your doctor acts offended at such a request, then you should probably find someone else to handle your medical care.

Why Do You Want One?

Before you ask for a second opinion, you need to identify the reason why you think this is important. For starters, do you not agree with the tests that were run? Many insurance companies will not pay for additional testing. Thankfully, they don’t usually have any problems paying for the second opinion. Is the need for another opinion coming from the fact that you don’t trust the doctor? If that’s the case, then you may want to get a new doctor before you go through with a major procedure. Many surgeons and other doctors don’t like to take a patient after they have been through an operation with another physician. Determine your needs and be ready to talk to the insurance company about additional testing.

Finding One

Are you willing to travel outside of your area to get a second opinion? It’s not easy to find a doctor that isn’t already affiliated with the hospital or clinic that you already use. You may need to use the internet to help you find the right medical professional. If you want to search online, doctor.com has become one of the major doctor review sites. It’s always advisable to see what other patients are saying about the doctor before you schedule an appointment. Try to stick with physicians who have the highest ratings or number of stars.

Know Your Rights

As a mom, you want what’s best for you and your family. You must know your rights regarding subsequent testing and second options. Each insurance company has different rules and regulations regarding this matter, but most will allow another doctor to review the tests given and to confirm or deny the diagnosis. Call the insurance company before you book such an appointment. It’s best to know their policies before you run up bills that you may be responsible for paying.

Facts About a Second Medical Opinion

Insurance companies started the whole idea of a second medical opinion. Insurance companies are required to pay millions of dollars each year for patients who have grave diagnoses. When there is a second opinion involved, it cuts misdiagnosis by 90 percent. Consider the condition of Parkinson’s disease. There is no definitive test that proves or disproves this diagnosis. It’s one of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions because it’s all symptomatic. So, by having a second opinion, the insurance company can be sure before they must pay out a great deal of money for medical care that might not be necessary.

Learn Alternative Treatment Options

It’s always good to get the opinion of a second doctor. Even if they agree with the diagnosis made by the first physician, they may know or utilize other treatment options that you weren’t given previously. Each doctor has their “go-to” treatment methods that are based on their experiences. For instance, while the treatment for multiple sclerosis is usually corticosteroids to suppress the immune system, some doctors use a small dose of chemotherapy to slow the progression of the disease. Since chemo is an immunosuppressive agent, it can be beneficial. However, without that second option, you may not have realized the options available to you.

When it comes to your health, you must stand up for yourself. If you feel that something is wrong, it probably is. Go over your test results, and make sure they didn’t miss anything. You would be surprised how many things busy doctors overlook because they are overloaded with work. Additionally, when it comes to receiving a diagnosis for a serious illness, you owe it to yourself and your family to get the opinion of a second doctor. You are the best advocate for your medical care.

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