When do you need a second medical opinion?

There are many ways seeking a second medical opinion can benefit patients after they receive a new diagnosis.

Many patients in Rhode Island feel confused after receiving a new medical diagnosis. As patients navigate through the healthcare system, it can often be difficult to choose between available treatment options. To help them ensure they are diagnosed correctly and that they are making the right treatment choices, patients should consider seeking an additional medical opinion from another physician.

The benefits of a second opinion

There are many different advantages that come from receiving a second opinion on a medical diagnosis. These include some of the following:

  • Confirm the diagnosis-A second opinion can help patients ensure all necessary tests have been completed and their results have been interpreted correctly. A second opinion can also help patients understand if other diagnoses should be considered.
  • Become an educated medical consumer-Patients who seek an additional viewpoint gain further knowledge about their condition and the options available to them. This allows them to make informed decisions, which could have long-term consequences, confidently.
  • Compare treatment outcomes-A second opinion ensures patients receive the most optimal treatment solutions. In some cases, a second opinion may provide patients with the option to avoid unnecessary surgery or invasive procedures.

By seeking a second opinion, patients can also confirm that their treatment plan is correct, that it will provide the desired results and that it is a complete strategy.

Situations that require an additional viewpoint

While patients may not seek another opinion if their diagnosis is not serious, a second opinion should be sought if the treatment proposed is very risky or toxic or if the diagnosis is not clear. A second opinion is also highly beneficial if the recommended treatment plan involves a trial for a new drug or if the approach considered for treating their condition is experimental.

In some cases, patients may not seek a second opinion from another medical provider out of concern for offending their current physician. Patients should not be afraid to confirm their physician's diagnosis and proposed treatment plan because it can be challenging for any singular provider to know about every available option in the medical community.

Contact an attorney

Even if patients in Rhode Island do not receive a second opinion, they should still expect to receive reliable, effective medical care from their physician. Those who received subpar medical care and were harmed as a result, either physically, emotionally or financially, should contact an attorney in their area for legal assistance.