When many people hear references to medical errors, they may initially think about problems like having been given the wrong medication or having a piece of equipment left in their body after a surgery. While these situations may be examples of some medical mistakes, other errors involve cases where a person has not even received a diagnosis or where they may have been given a completely wrong diagnosis.

People may benefit from seeking a second medical opinion in a variety of scenarios. Doing so may help guard them against a potentially serious medical mistake.

When a second opinion makes sense

As explained by AARP, getting additional input about a medical situation may be appropriate when a patient receives a serious diagnosis or when a doctor recommends an invasive or experimental treatment. Similarly, the absence of a medical diagnosis may prompt a person to seek a second medical opinion, especially when their symptoms persist and even worsen.

Identification or validation

CancerConnect.com indicates that a second medical opinion may offer a person the ability to have their symptoms explained by finally working with a provider able to diagnose the issue. A second medical opinion may end up corroborating a first opinion, providing a useful sense of security and trust to a patient and their family members.

Requesting the second opinion

Patients interested in additional opinions may ask their initial doctor for a referral to another provider. They may also request a comprehensive set of medical records to share with the new provider, ensuring all information is presented so the different opinions may be properly compared.