Second opinions safe lives. Any time a client receives a new diagnosis or feels they are not getting a full picture, I recommend getting a second opinion. It has been my experience that doctors often have different ways of treating the same disease. The treatments can vary dramatically. The doctor may not even agree with the diagnosis. As an empowered patient it is important to know about a second opinion.
Asking for a second opinion does’t mean you don’t trust or appreciate your doctor. It only means you want more information to make an informed decision as to your healthcare. The original opinion may be verified or for you it may turn out to be the best option.
A common fear voiced to me is: I don’t want my doctor to kick me out of the practice. I have never experienced that reaction. Some doctors do get their feathers ruffled but it doesn’t last.
Here is an example of why a second opinion makes a difference.
Jen’s mother called her and said she had been having chest pain. She went to the hospital and was admitted for a heart attack. The labs showed elevated cardiac enzymes and EKG was abnormal. The ER doctor wrote the diagnosis in the medical chart. A stress test was done the next day. The hospital cardiologist came the next day and told her she hadn’t had a heart attack just high blood pressure. The cardiologist was emphatic that there was no cardiac event and discharged. Jen saw the ER doctor who reiterated his diagnosis was correct.
Jen’s mother went home with a prescription and an order for a second stress test with thallium. Jen saw that her mother continued to feel poorly. Jen decided the best thing for her mother was a second opinion. She was able to get a recommendation from her own doctor. The appointment was for after the second stress test.
The second cardiologist determined she had a heart attack especially after looking at the second test. He felt she needed to be re-hospitalized for further testing because he believed there was a blockage.
In this case, a second opinion saved Jen’s mother’s life. It isn’t always that dramatic but I see it enough to know a second opinion matters.