How To Ask For A Second Opinion To Avoid A Misdiagnosis

If you’ve been given a serious medical diagnosis, you know it can be difficult to process. You may seem to feel every emotion at once, or you may have trouble feeling anything at all. Grief, shock, and anger are all normal responses to a life-altering medical condition.

Denial is also a normal response. Most of the time, people trust their doctors to make these decisions, but many patients resist the idea that they are seriously ill. And sometimes, these patients are right. Doctors are only human, and they make mistakes. In fact, medical errors are more common—and more dangerous—than most people realize.

You want a second opinion. How do you get it?

How to Fix a Doctor’s Mistake

The decision to seek a second opinion is a very personal one, and most patients don’t bother to investigate their diagnosis. But if you’ve made this decision, you might have questions about what a second opinion really is.

Getting a second opinion just means asking another doctor to verify what the first doctor is claiming. It doesn’t mean repeating every step that led to the diagnosis. In fact, the second opinion you get will generally be based on the same tests, evaluations, and other records that your first doctor used.

Despite this, many patients are afraid to ask for a second opinion because of how the doctor might react. Some patients brace themselves for an awkward conversation with their doctor. Many others give in to the fear and never question the terrible news.

If you’re considering a second opinion, it’s worth knowing that credible doctors rarely take offense at being questioned. In fact, this kind of behavior would be unprofessional. A doctor who reacts defensively to a patient in shock, grief, or denial is not a doctor you should trust with your health and your life.

However, you may still find it difficult or uncomfortable to start this conversation. Here are some ways you might phrase your request:

  • If you just want to raise the question: “This is a lot to process. I think a second opinion would make me feel better.”
  • If you feel like you need the doctor’s help: “I might want to get a second opinion. Is there anyone you’d recommend?”
  • If you already have a doctor in mind: “Before we start treatment, there’s someone I’d like to consult.”
  • If you want the doctor to understand your perspective as a patient: “This is just so unreal. Would you get a second opinion if you had this disease?”

Once you’ve taken this step, which is sometimes the hardest one, ask your insurance what they’ll cover and what they won’t. Then, start gathering your medical records. Once you’ve decided on a doctor, ask them how they typically handle this process.

A second opinion is nothing to be afraid of. Peace of mind is important for your health, especially when your condition is serious, and we can help you find it. We’re always just a phone call, email, or text message away!