Every time you feel something terrible or painful and Google might not give you definite answers, your instinct would tell you to go to a doctor to get a diagnosis. Whether the person in white coat delivers the news, you tend to trust their words and reluctant to question their opinion. After all, they are the one with a medical degree right?
Based on a 2010 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans are confident in their doctor’s diagnosis, with only 29% feel the need to do their own research after receiving a medical advice. But did you know that one in every twenty Americans is subjected to diagnostic errors?
The truth is doctors are humans too and there is a possibility that he or she may be wrong, regardless of where s/he received the medical degree. And as someone concerned about health, you sure don’t want to subject yourself to expensive treatments only to find out that you’ve been wrongly diagnosed. Therefore, seeking for a second opinion is also advisable. The question now is when?
When you are not comfortable with your diagnosis and recommended treatment.
Did you know that an estimated 12 million adults are misdiagnosed every year? And that figure is confined to the United States alone! What does this mean?
Even if you didn’t study in a prestigious university or have no M.D. on your name, you know your body well. If you feel that the diagnosis is not enough or the doctor has not looked into your other symptoms, you can ask for a second opinion. It may require pricey diagnostic procedures so be prepared as well.
When you don’t feel you are being heard completely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors spend an average of 20 minutes per patient. Aside from the limited time, a study published in the Family Medicine journal revealed that patients can’t speak for more than 12 seconds without being interrupted.
If you feel that the doctor is not or selectively listening to your concerns, don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion. Keep in mind that an accurate diagnosis depends on your ability to communicate your health history, symptoms and concerns to your doctor. If the doctor is not listening attentively, s/he may miss out crucial information and might give a wrong diagnosis.
When a serious but non-emergency surgery is recommended.
Aside from being pricey, going through a surgical procedure entails a lot of risks. If your doctor recommends a surgery such as heart bypass or tumor removals, don’t hesitate to seek for a second opinion especially when you have time to seek for one. There is a possibility that you won’t need one and alternatives such as medications or natural treatment may work. Saves you money too.
Talk to your doctor and discuss the possibility of seeking a second opinion. Don’t worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings. They won’t take it personally and most of them would even encourage it, especially when surgical procedures are involved. This will ensure that communication is properly maintained and all your records will be disclosed properly.
On the last note, don’t forget to check your health insurance policy too so you don’t get stuck in a bill which is too heavy for your pocket.