Should I get a second medical opinion?

Despite being nervous about offending a physician, Massachusetts residents should always feel confident in seeking second opinions about their health.

Many medical situations may leave a Massachusetts resident entertaining the idea of getting a second opinion. When a person continues to experience a problem that doctors fail to be able to solve yet the symptoms persist, it may make someone want to get a new view. Being given a serious and even life-threatening diagnosis is another situation in which a person may want to confirm such information.

The Patient Advocate Foundation acknowledges that many people may feel uncomfortable asking for a second opinion for fear that it may offend a doctor or other provider. However, such requests should always be respected and even appreciated by honorable medical professionals. In fact, an original provider could be the ideal source for a referral to another provider for a second opinion.

When a second opinion makes sense

Certainly not every trip to a doctor should result in the need for additional input. Fox News suggests that if a person feels rushed or as though his or her concerns and experiences are not fully heard by a provider, it may be time to get a new opinion.

According to WebMD, some of the most appropriate times to seek second opinions are after receiving very serious diagnoses or when invasive treatments are provided as options or recommendations. It may also be helpful to get a second opinion if original information is unclear or seems incomplete.

Benefits of a second opinion

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of getting a second opinion is the peace of mind that can result. The more informed a person is the better equipped one can be to make appropriate decisions. This is very important when dealing with one's health.

Also, it is important to remember that every doctor will have his or her own approach to providing care. Some will be more hesitant to engage in aggressive or invasive treatments or procedures. Other providers will be more apt to jump on something quickly regardless of the level of aggressiveness or cost involved.

Information is important when seeing a new provider

Before seeing a new provider, a person should gather all records including office visit notes, test results and more and ensure this information is provided to the new doctor. The more background a second opinion giver has, the better equipped he or she will be to provide a fresh approach if appropriate.

Legal help can be essential

Sometimes people want to get a second opinion because they suspect that a mistake has been made. It is very important for Massachusetts residents to talk with an attorney at these times. Doing so can provide details about things like statutes of limitations that may be important if seeking compensation becomes necessary.