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Why is it important to get a second opinion?

Most people at some point during their lifetimes face a medical situation in which the more information they receive, the better. In many cases, getting a second opinion is a wise choice for Rhode Island residents. The advice and support of more than one physician may be life-saving.

However, points out the Center for Advancing Health, if you’re like many patients you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of asking your doctor for a second opinion. You may be afraid that you’ll offend or anger your doctor, damage your good relationship with him or her or seem like a difficult patient. It’s important to understand that getting a second opinion is a common and widely accepted practice.

Why is it important to seek a second opinion? Avoiding a missed or false diagnosis is a major benefit in getting the advice of more than one medical professional. In a study of 6,000 cancer patients by Johns Hopkins University, one or two out of every 100 patients who got second opinions after their tumor biopsies discovered they had wrong diagnoses. This number may seem minimal, but imagine if that one patient was you.

If you have more than one doctor’s opinion, you will likely be more informed on the different treatments available to you, as well as which course of treatment can best suit your preferences and provide you the best outcome. Finally, you should know that it’s all right to ask for a second opinion no matter how minor your condition may seem. Taking charge of your health by being as informed as possible may make a huge difference in your long-term wellbeing, as well as help you avoid medical mistakes. This information, while helpful, should not be taken as legal advice.

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