Obviously, you trust your doctor. Otherwise, you wouldn’t rely on them for the diagnosis and treatment of your medical issues. The average physician has spent years obtaining the necessary education to diagnose and treat human patients.
They also feel a strong drive to do what is best for the people in their care. Despite those good intentions, medical professionals frequently make mistakes when they diagnose people and also reach questionable decisions when deciding the right course of treatment.
As someone in need of significant medical support, it is important for you to recognize when it may be time to seek a second opinion.
When you face a life-altering diagnosis
Perhaps your doctor just called you to provide you with biopsy results confirming that the spots that showed up in your X-ray are cancer. Maybe your diagnosis is a degenerative condition that will affect your musculoskeletal system or a pre-existing genetic condition that only started producing symptoms in recent months.
Especially if your condition is rare, it may be better for you to see a specialist or to obtain a second opinion from a doctor whose practice more closely relates to the specific area of medicine that concerns you.
When the treatment is invasive or dangerous
Has your doctor insisted on recommending a surgery for a condition that frequently responds to medication? Have they told you that they think an experimental treatment with unknown levels of efficacy is your best option?
When you believe that the treatment they suggest to you is not reliable enough or too risky, that could be a compelling reason to ask for a second opinion.
When they don’t listen to you
Sometimes, your doctor will reach what you believe is a wrong conclusion because they don’t listen to you or they dismiss your concerns. You may need to see a different physician who will be more willing to explore your perception of the circumstance and consider alternate explanations and treatments before reaching a medical conclusion.
A second opinion can save you from undergoing the wrong care or from a diagnostic failure that could delay the necessary treatment for months and therefore also negatively affect your prognosis. Taking action to advocate for yourself is important, as is standing up for yourself if you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice.