When you are sick, you go to the doctor trusting that he or she is going to diagnose and treat you appropriately. But doctors are human, and there is always the risk that they’ll make a mistake. A medical error or a misdiagnosed condition can have a severe impact on your health. You should do everything you can to improve your own medical treatment results, and one of the things you can do is get a second medical opinion.
Why Should You Get a Second Opinion?
In a 2017 study, the Mayo Clinic found that 88% of patients who seek a second opinion go home with a new or refined diagnosis. In 21% of the cases, the diagnosis changed completely. While the study only followed 286 patients, it demonstrates a high rate of diagnostic errors and suggests that there is a good chance that a second medical provider will at least adjust a diagnosis.
Diagnostic errors are a serious concern for patients. Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose is the most common form of medical malpractice. Getting a second opinion can help increase the chance of a correct diagnosis and lead to an effective treatment. A second opinion is not only encouraged for accurate diagnosis, but it also expedites the process of getting life-saving treatment or discontinuing an unnecessary one.
Even if you get a second opinion that confirms your first doctor’s diagnosis, having it confirmed can give you peace of mind and confidence in the diagnosis. A second opinion can also increase your knowledge about your health and educate you about alternative treatment options.
When to Get a Second Opinion?
It can be worthwhile getting a second opinion for any of the following reasons:
- When you’re not confident in your doctor’s assessment or diagnosis.
- When you’ve been told you have a rare or life-threatening condition.
- When you’re uncomfortable with the prescribed treatment plan.
- When you don’t feel like your doctor listened to you.
- When you feel that your doctor is dismissing your concerns.
A good doctor understands your right to be well-informed and should support your decision to seek a second opinion. Asking for a second opinion is not a betrayal of your trust in your doctor, but it is your right as a patient.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a diagnostic error, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience representing New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits available. Se habla espaňol.