An unexpected illness or medical diagnosis can devastate an entire network of people. Confusion, sadness, stress and anxiety are common emotions that people feel when they face something new. Those who trust their medical provider may not consider that a second opinion could provide more insight, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, a second opinion is beneficial when it comes to a life-changing diagnosis.
Many patients hesitate to get a second opinion because they fear it will offend their current physician. Medical providers often recognize that another set of eyes can be beneficial when it comes to diagnosis, treatment plan and long-term care.
When to get a second opinion
Life-threatening diagnoses that require extensive treatment should almost always require a second opinion. This is particularly true with those diagnosed with any type of cancer. When it comes to treatment, many eyes are better than one.
Other times a second opinion may be necessary include:
- Treatment is causing side effects or not working
- The next step is major surgery or something that incapacitates the person for a time
- The condition is rare
- A specialist is necessary
- Diagnosis is wrong or incomplete
Many patients simply want to feel confident about their diagnosis and the treatment plan. These are completely valid reasons to reach out to another doctor for a second opinion. Some doctors also have access to clinical trials with new medications or treatments.
The right to comfort in treatment
There are also times when the doctor and patient have a strained relationship. In all cases, patients have the right to speak to as many doctors as possible until they feel comfortable with the future.