Getting a serious diagnosis is frightening enough without having to wonder if your doctor is making a mistake. Even if you are not sure about the accuracy of your diagnosis, the thought of requesting a second opinion may be intimidating.
Taking the time to get a second opinion may help you avoid the consequences of a misdiagnosis or incorrect treatment plan.
Deciding whether to get a second opinion
According to the AARP, a good time to seek a second opinion is when you get a serious diagnosis that could have significant long-term consequences. For example, if a doctor tells you that you need surgery or a costly medication that is not covered by your insurance, you may want to get confirmation from another medical professional before proceeding.
Pursuing a second opinion
You may tell your physician that you would like a second opinion and ask for his or her help finding another doctor. Another option is to seek a second opinion without telling your current doctor.
The AARP states that you may want to find a specialist for a second opinion. It may also be important to contact your health insurance provider to determine whether your policy will cover the appointment and any necessary tests. Before your appointment with the second doctor, you may gather all your medical records or ask your physician’s office to send electronic copies to the other doctor.
Getting further opinions
If the second doctor’s diagnosis is significantly different than your physician’s initial opinion, you may want to make additional appointments to get even more information on your possible condition. Feeling confident about your diagnosis and next steps may help the treatment process go smoothly.