Health & Fitness

Things to Keep in Mind When Getting a Second Opinion

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate event of receiving a grave medical diagnosis, you should seriously consider seeking out a second opinion from another doctor. This suggestion doesn’t derive from the notion that your original physician is not credible, but because as a patient it is your right to be as informed on your illness from all possible angles; and another set of eyes could lead you to an epiphany of how to best handle your diagnosis and treatment plan.

When seeking out a second opinion, there are things that you should always keep in mind. The first thing to consider is whether or not your doctor who’s giving you a second opinion is in agreement with the original diagnosis and course of treatment. This first step is crucial, because if the doctor doling out a second opinion finds a discrepancy with your case then perhaps it would be best for you to acquire even a third opinion. You can get as many medical opinions as you wish, so long as you are content with the information you have been provided with and have a clear outlook of how to best handle your illness.

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Once you’ve gone through all the options laid out, you can then decide which two or three treatment plans work best for you. Taking a treatment plan into consideration can be tricky as there are various things to consider such as cost, the risk(s) involved, short-term and long-term benefits, etc. Such factors can often muddy a patient’s decision making process. Since medicine is a business it does have financial incentives. Therefore, it is always best if you have a variety of treatment options available to  you, including natural options. Finding a physician who can recommend a natural treatment option is rare, but do exist. Natural cures are often prescribed a negative light as they are not necessarily good for ‘business,’ however, that doesn’t render them an less effective than other remedies and treatment plans.

In serious cases you should pose the question on treatment options that help prolong life and what the differences in quality of living are. For instance, when it comes to cancer cases, it isn’t sufficient to merely inquire whether one treatment will help prolong life versus another. If a treatment procedure prolongs a patient’s life, but leaves the patient largely incapacitated for four months out of the seven months of the estimated time left, and puts the patient and his/her family in serious financial debt, may not be the best decision to make. Getting a second opinion should help clear up what question marks surround certain treatment plans and what would work best for a given case.

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You should also consider getting a second opinion from a doctor who works in a different, but related specialty. For instance, if you’re scheduled for surgery, consider getting a second opinion from a non-surgeon. What’s more you should always bring a friend or recording device to better comprehend what’s been said later. Granted some physicians may be uncomfortable by the presence of a recording device for legal purposes, therefore be sure to ask for their consent before recording.

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