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Knowing How And When To Get A Second Opinion

May 4, 2008
There are many times when patients are diagnosed with a terminal illness or a severe condition and do not trouble themselves to get a second opinion. However, those same people will often shop around for a car, house or even the best price on a loaf of bread. Why do some spend so much time on a purchase yet so little time on their health? Second opinions regularly mean the difference between life and death. Imagine having a breast, kidney, or lung removed only to find out afterward that you were misdiagnosed. Patients are often putting their lives in the hands of others. So before getting treatment know how and when to get a second opinion.

It is sometimes important that the patient get a second medical opinion for a health care issue, which should be received from a health care professional. To decide the importance for a particular instance, the patient should evaluate the original diagnosis, his or her overall confidence with the health care provider, the amount of satisfaction of the progress of the medical treatment up to the current point, and if the patient has insurance, he or she should know and understand the requirements of the health insurance policy. Both the mental and physical well being of a person needs to be addressed for quality health care. It is a well-known fact that physical problems can negatively affect mental health just as emotional stress can lead to physical health problems. It is for this reason that it is of the utmost importance that the patient trusts the physician. If the patient does not know the doctor well or does not like or trust the doctor it is necessary that a second opinion be retrieved.

A patient may feel insecure when they ask an opinion from another medical professional, especially when they ask a physician. A physician or doctor has conventionally been viewed in wonder in western society as if they were mystic. The general public has not been taught to question their medical treatment. They often worry about when they should ask for a second opinion, or if they are even entitled to one. They also worry about whether they will offend the physician. A true health care professional will understand and appreciate the interest you are taking in your own health. A doctor who does not admit to his own limitations outside his specialty can put his patients' health in danger. If you find that the doctor, whom you had personally requested for a consultation reacts poorly and in a cold manner, then your seeking a second opinion is probably more than a good idea.

Fortunately one development in health care is the growing mutual working involvement between a patient and a physician. In the last twenty years it has become more common for the patient to make decisions. This has resulted in the building of confidence that allows patients to be comfortable with asking their primary care doctor to provide them with another doctor so as to obtain a second opinion.
About the Author
S.A.M. Martin, M.A., C.M.I, C.M.R. brings her knowledge from working in a psychiatric crisis unit and a hospital emergency room to you available through her articles and free newsletters obtainable at the Online Health Resource Catalog at www.ohrc.info .
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