Is a second medical opinion necessary?

Pennsylvania residents should always feel empowered to seek second opinions about their health. Knowing when to do this is important.

Medical mistakes are a sad but true reality of life today. Because of this, Pennsylvania residents should be educated about what types of situations may warrant them getting more information and how they should do it. This should be considered a basic right for all people as their health is one of the most personal things and they deserve the right to be informed.

Fear of upsetting doctors

As explained by the Patient Advocate Foundation, one reason that may people hesitate to seek a second opinion is the fear of upsetting a current doctor. However, the reaction of a doctor to hearing that a patient would like another opinion may well be telling in itself. Ethical providers will not only understand but welcome such proactivity on the part of patients. In fact, a current doctor may well be a great source of referrals to seeking a second opinion.

Knowing when to ask for another opinion

Another reason that people may wait before seeking additional opinions is because it can be very hard to know what things really warrant this step. Certainly it is not reasonable to think that every visit to a doctor or other provider requires a subsequent visit with another provider.

WebMD recommends that people pursue second opinions after they have been given diagnoses for serious conditions or when a provider has recommended a relatively invasive form of treatment .

Additionally, people should feel comfortable asking for a second opinion when they are not able to fully understand the information provided by a first doctor.

How a second opinion may help

Sometimes after talking to a second doctor, a patient may decide to go back to a first doctor. This should never be looked upon as a person having wasted time or money because the peace of mind that comes with this is invaluable.

When faced with very important decisions, it is reasonable to have more than one option to evaluate. Each doctor generally has a unique philosophy or approach and considering different ones is never a bad idea.

Being informed during the process

At the heart of seeking a second opinion is making sure patients are informed at all steps in the process. It is equally important that second providers are informed so patients should bring or have sent to new providers as many records as possible. This may help in getting the best opinion.

Once an opinion is received, Pennsylvania residents should also feel confident in reaching out to an attorney. Talking with a professional who understands medical errors may help patients known when more than just a second medical opinion is needed.