Is It Time To Seek A Second Opinion?

Your doctor might be the smartest and most compassionate person you know, but sometimes even they can make a mistake. We trust our doctors when it comes to our health, but when you are facing a new medical issue, such as a new diagnosis, it’s okay to feel confused or unsure. All doctors have their own way of diagnosing and treating conditions, so it’s okay to feel like you want a second opinion. Getting a second opinion can give you peace of mind, and there are times when seeking a second opinion is not only appropriate, but medically necessary. 

Why Second Opinions Are Necessaryafrican american woman with a lab coat on the phone while looking down at come paperwork.

If you are diagnosed with a major or life-threatening medical condition, then it is normal for you to want a second opinion – and necessary for you to seek one. Sometimes even doctors will reach out to colleagues for opinions or will choose to send you to another doctor for a second opinion. It may surprise you to know that, according to research from 2017, approximately 88% of patients who look for a second opinion leave the office with a new or refined diagnosis. Approximately 22%  leave with a different diagnosis, and only around 12% are told that their initial diagnosis is correct. 

“Getting a second opinion for conditions that significantly affect your quality of life, such as hip and knee replacement, can ensure you have been diagnosed appropriately,” says Dr. Peter Rasmussen, MD, cerebrovascular surgeon and Chief Clinical Officer of the MyConsult® Second Opinion program. “Plus, it’ll ensure you’re getting the optimal treatment, including further medical treatment instead of surgery, and it could save you time and money.”

Reasons To Get A Second Opinion

Misdiagnoses can happen, especially because some symptoms mimic symptoms of other conditions, and even doctors can make mistakes. Second opinions are important to consider when:

  • The diagnosis is cancer The word cancer alone is scary enough, but when dealing with a cancer diagnosis, it is necessary to seek a second opinion to know just how severe the cancer is and to be aware of all your different treatment options. 
  • Surgery is recommended- Some doctors are quick to recommend surgery as a treatment option, while others can see a less invasive course of action to treat an issue. Instead of immediately agreeing to surgery, seek another opinion to make sure it is necessary.

    woman sitting on a windowpane looking outside
    If your doctor tells you everything is fine but your gut says otherwise, then a second opinion is necessary.
  • You have undergone treatment but symptoms continue– You know your body better than anyone else, and if you have been treated by your doctor, yet symptoms continue, it is time to seek another opinion. 
  • Your doctor dismisses your concernsThis happens all too often. For example, you are experiencing constant stomach issues and your doctor brushes it off as stress and tells you to relax or take some anxiety medications. But you could have a stomach ulcer or worse! If you are not satisfied with your doctor’s opinion, get another one.
  • Your gut is telling you to get another opinion- This goes hand-in-hand with the above reason. If you feel like there is something wrong, then odds are you are probably right. Get another opinion if you feel like there is something not right (and your doctor does not not seem concerned).
  • Your diagnosis is unclear and you want a better explanation- As mentioned above, many diseases  share the same symptoms. If your diagnosis is unclear because of complicated symptoms, then a second opinion from a specialist is a must. 
  • The condition is rare- Some diseases are so rare that there is little research done on them. If you are one of the approximately 30 million Americans diagnosed with a rare condition, get another opinion from a specialist.

Searching For A Second Opinion

You can get a second opinion by getting a referral from your doctor, or by searching for another doctor or specialist in your network. If you want to seek an opinion from a doctor who is not in your network, you can do so, but you will have to pay a fee for going outside of your network, which can be quite expensive. 

Getting a second opinion should not cost you an arm and a leg. If you are having issues finding a specialist or another doctor, can help find you a better plan with a larger network of doctors. Because we work with so many different insurance companies around the country, we can get you quotes for multiple plans in your area in minutes. One of our licensed agents will work with you to assess what kind of coverage you need, and we will find a plan that covers you and fits in your budget. We might even be able to find a plan with more coverage that is less expensive than your current plan, which could save you hundreds of dollars!

To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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