Charles’ mother is a widow in her 70s who suffered lower back pain from a car accident. The doctor diagnosed a slipped disc based on the x-ray result. She got hospitalized. One of the treatments included hanging her feet and pulling with a weighted object to correct the slipped disc. It only worsened her condition. The doctor indicated surgery as an option.
Gut feelings made Charles seek a second opinion from a long-time family physician. The doctor ruled out a slipped disc. In his findings, Charles’ mother could not possibly walk if she suffered a slipped disc. Instead, the diagnosis had something to do with the nerves. Charles’ mother did not have a single stitch on her body. She is doing very well.
Then there’s Jane, who brought her son to an ear specialist due to inflammation in the middle ear. The specialist suggested surgery. A well-meaning friend advised her to seek a second opinion from a family doctor. The second doctor advised her to let the boy chew gum constantly. The boy grew up with nary a stitch on his ear. He is doing just fine.
Indeed, a second medical opinion from another doctor makes a difference to your health. It could save you from misdiagnosis and unnecessary invasive procedures. It could save time, money, and even the quality of life.
What Is A Second Opinion in Medicine?
Gut feelings may tell you that something is wrong with your diagnosis. It is normal to seek a second opinion from another doctor. The diagnosis and treatment plan of the second doctor may concur with that of your first doctor, or it may differ to a great extent. It gives you confidence and peace of mind if the diagnoses are the same.
Medical Second Opinion Statistics
A study conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2021 revealed facts about second opinions:
- Second opinions cut diagnostic errors from 26% to 50%
- 1 in 5 patients received a different diagnosis from their second doctor
- Out of 286 cases reviewed, only 12% confirmed the original diagnosis. The remaining 88% led to a new or refined diagnosis.
Why Is It Necessary To Get A Second Opinion?
It is prudent to get a second opinion, especially when faced with a life-changing or life-threatening health condition.
- It reduces the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors
- It could lead to life-saving treatments or stop unnecessary ones
- It could avoid prescribing the wrong medicine and accompanying side effects
- An appropriate diagnosis spares family members from stress and anxiety
The second opinion becomes more valuable if it comes from an expert. You can weigh your options after getting all the information.
When To Ask For a Second Opinion
Here are the top five reasons to get a second opinion.
- You want an accurate diagnosis.
A diagnostic error could be fatal, with irreversible effects. A second opinion may suggest – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you are getting the correct diagnosis and want to confirm it.
- Your diagnosis is confusing.
It is challenging when the first signs of symptoms don’t point exactly to the health condition. In this case, the diagnosis is unclear. A lot of questions were left unanswered. It’s like a cloud of doubt hovering above your head. You have not shared all the details about your medical history, either. A doctor may not have the luxury of time to explain from A to Z during consultation hours. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that doctors spend, on average, 20 minutes with each patient. A second opinion could augment and clarify what you have discussed with your doctor.
- You were diagnosed with a complex condition.
A patient diagnosed with a complex condition, such as cancer, must seek a second opinion.
A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology in 2018 revealed that a multidisciplinary tumor board at the National Cancer Institute changed the diagnosis for 43% of the 70 cancer patients after a second review.
25 to 30 million people in the U.S. are suffering from rare diseases, according to a Global Genes survey. It also stated that it takes an average of nearly five years for patients living with a rare disease to get an accurate diagnosis.
- You are still sick
Your current treatment did not improve your health. Or it may have turned for the worse. It is a warning sign that you should seek a second opinion immediately.
- Your doctor suggested an operation.
Once cut up, you can never go back. So, before taking the plunge, leave no tables unturned. Seek medical opinions from doctors whom you trust. They may suggest alternative treatments.
How to Ask for a Second Opinion
Most patients are hesitant to ask for a referral from their doctors. They feel that the attending physician might be offended. But this is not the case. Your doctor would be glad to collaborate with other specialists in their field of expertise. It is customary for doctors to reach out to their colleagues to exchange medical opinions. They are fully aware that the field of medicine is evolving at a fast pace. They want nothing but the best medical care for you.
Find a medical specialist who meets the following criteria:
- Held in high esteem by his peers
- Researches in a particular area and publishes findings
- Has a wide connection of experts in the same field
- Treats a large number of patients with the same condition
Misdiagnosis Resulting in Injury
Let’s say your doctor wants the best for you. But sometimes, even the best intention goes awry. As the cliché goes, “To err is human.”
The debilitating effects of a wrongfully diagnosed illness are tremendous. The personal injury suffered by the patient is irreversible and impacts his daily routine for the rest of his life.
Get a Free Consultation from Your Personal Injury Legal Experts in Michigan Now!
If you are a victim of misdiagnosis injury, contact our Michigan attorneys at The Clark Law Office today. With over 30 years of experience litigating personal injury cases, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who suffered personal injuries.
Initial consultations are free. You are not required to pay anything until you win your injury case.
Give us a call at (517)-347-6900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your monetary recovery is an utmost priority here at The Clark Law Office!