3 Signs You Should Ask For A Second Opinion When Receiving A Medical Diagnosis

Despite the years of training and education required for a medical degree, doctors are still human, and they still make mistakes. This can happen even if your doctor is following all of the standard procedures for a patient in your situation. Medical errors are more common than many people realize.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any less serious. A medical error can lead to misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, or treatment that is ineffective or even harmful. Patients can even die because of medical errors, especially if a life-threatening condition goes untreated as a result.

As the patient, you have rights when it comes to the care you receive from your doctor. This includes the right to a second opinion.

Should You Get a Second Opinion? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

Getting a second opinion isn’t always necessary, especially if you trust your doctor and you don’t suspect a mistake.

But if you have concerns or doubts about the way your doctor is handling your case, don’t ignore these feelings. Look for these warning signs that your worries may be justified.

Your doctor seems incompetent.

Patients can’t be expected to know every medical fact or proper procedure that doctors are expected to follow, and reading about diseases on the internet doesn’t make you a doctor yourself.

But some things are common knowledge, even to people without medical degrees. If your doctor breaks with protocol or contradicts known medical facts, speak up. Even if the doctor knows what she or he is doing, you still have the right to be informed about the treatment you’re receiving.

Your doctor doesn’t listen.

A lab test can’t reveal every disease or condition. Doctors often arrive at a diagnosis by listening to the patient’s description of the problem, or by observing their behavior. When it comes to your health, your input matters, and not just when it comes to treatment.

Don’t trust a doctor who ignores your concerns, selectively listens, or rushes to diagnose you based on incomplete information. If your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, your health is at risk.

Your diagnosis is very serious.

Sometimes the diagnosis itself might warrant getting a second opinion, especially if it calls for aggressive treatments or drastic lifestyle changes. Healthy patients can be harmed by unnecessary treatments.

For example, cancer is a life-altering diagnosis that requires difficult decisions to be made, often on short notice. Chemotherapy is life-saving medicine for a patient who needs it, but it might be toxic to a healthy patient who was misdiagnosed. Likewise, diagnosing the wrong type of cancer or the wrong stage can lead to ineffective treatments.

Something just doesn’t feel right.

You don’t always need a reason to second-guess your doctor. Even if there’s no indication that a mistake was made, you have the right to seek a second opinion. Your peace of mind is important, and you may decide that it’s worth the cost of additional testing.

Your health is the most important thing you have. If you feel like your doctor is taking chances with your health, listen to your gut and take action. We can be reached by phone, text message, or email. We will help you with your case, every step of the way.