Monday, 28 September 2015

Getting a second opinion

It goes without saying that in health care, two-heads are better than one and in order to avoid unnecessary treatments and surgical procedures, getting a second opinion from another health professional cannot be over-emphasized.

If you are interested in seeking a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis from your doctor, you should do the following:

1. Collect and bring medical records yourself to the new clinic. This includes previous test results, referral notes and pictures if necessary. Do not leave anything out just because you consider it unimportant.

2. Ensure you seek the opinion of a specialist or somebody from a different team. Also reading up online for more information on the condition leaves you better informed.

3. See the doctor in-person to get a good second opinion. Although you may be tempted to save time by discussing over the phone, a visit to the doctor gives him a chance to examine you, review your test results and understand your case better.

4. Know your key question. Do you wonder most about the diagnosis, the treatment options or the prognosis? The doctor is going to analyze all three, but knowing where your greatest uncertainty lies helps us know where to spend the most time thinking—and explaining.

5. Prepare for getting the same opinion as the first. The objective of the second opinion is to provide a new perspective, treatment options and prevent diagnostic mistakes like the nurse who lost both her breasts due to a misdiagnosis.  So I must say the time spent is absolutely worth it.

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