Patients who play active roles in their health and wellness often have more favorable outcomes. This is especially true after receiving a life-changing diagnosis, which is the case with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Even if you have faith in your current healthcare team, getting a second opinion ensures you are open to all of the options.
However, it can be difficult to ask for a second opinion, for many reasons. Maybe you are afraid of offending your doctor, who you may have seen for most of your life. Or perhaps your doctor has dissuaded you from seeking second opinions in the past. Here are some things to consider if you want a second opinion on your health.
Reasons to ask for a second opinion
While patients should feel empowered to seek additional medical insight any time they see fit, there are some situations that must always involve a second opinion. Being frustrated or unclear on the information being conveyed by your doctor prevents you from fully understanding your diagnosis. Another doctor may be able to provide the information in a more comprehensible way or be more willing to address your questions than your current provider.
You may have also been subject to a rare diagnosis. The rarer the illness or condition, the less information general medical providers will have on it. Speaking with a specialist is a must, as this person will be able to provide additional information on the condition itself as well as treatments. You should also seek a second opinion if your current doctor is unable to confirm the diagnosis.
How to pursue a second opinion
If you feel comfortable enough, ask your current doctor for a recommendation. Most practitioners are glad to help patients find additional information, especially when something falls outside their field of study. You can also perform a search for specialists on your own. Just be sure to check with your insurance company to determine whether you are covered.
When visiting the new doctor, provide as much information as possible. This includes any medications you are taking, your general health history, the development of new symptoms, previous surgeries, and new diagnoses. If you do not have access to the information directly, provide your new doctor with the names of hospitals and health clinics you have been treated by previously.