Doctors and surgeons are human beings and, therefore, subject to make mistakes. When visiting a medical professional, every patient must hope and trust that their provider knows when to seek additional information and whom or where to seek it from. Equally important is the ability of a patient to do the same thing. Getting a second medical opinion is every patient’s right.
Very Well Health indicated that research conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that one in five patients who sought second opinions were provided with distinctly different diagnosis and recommendations than from their original providers. Many others were provided with refined diagnosis or options.
The Patient Advocate Foundation explains that a second medical opinion can not only give insights into a different diagnosis but also open up new opportunities or ideas on how to address an issue. This can empower patients and give them a greater sense of control and peace of mind about their health. Some people find it difficult to ask for a second opinion because they do not want to offend a first provider.
People are encouraged to seek second opinions when an initial diagnosis involves a serious or terminal illness or condition, or when any course of treatment for a condition is highly invasive or experimental. Second opinions may also benefit people when they continue experiencing problems or declining health despite being told by a provider that no underlying problem can be identified. When an initial treatment or procedure fails to address a person’s problem and result in the desired improvement, a discussion with another medical professional is warranted.