If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a serious illness or disease, you understand the sense of urgency. After the shock sets in, you want to act as swiftly as possible. This isn’t always the best idea, though. In many cases, the smartest thing you can do is get a second opinion. You may be surprised to discover that diagnoses aren’t always as they first appear.
3 Reasons Why a Second Opinion is a Good Idea
A diagnosis refers to “the act of identifying a disease, illness, or problem by examining someone or something.” While it’s assumed that a diagnosis is accurate, this isn’t the case 100 percent of the time. And even if the diagnosis is correct, one doctor’s interpretation can vary from another’s. With that being said, there are three reasons why you need to pursue a second – and possibly third – opinion.
- Protect Against Misdiagnoses
While most doctors are very good at what they do, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. Even doctors have bad days. Even if a doctor has a 99 percent accuracy rate for diagnoses, there’s still a one percent that gets an incorrect evaluation. The chances of you falling into this small percentage may be slim, but the risk still exists.
While a misdiagnosis can be considered medical malpractice, which means you and your family members could file a lawsuit and claim damages, this provides little comfort in the moment. It’s best to get a couple of opinions so you can increase your chances of getting an accurate diagnosis. Receiving the wrong diagnoses from two independent doctors is much rarer than getting a misdiagnosis from one doctor.
- Multiple Treatment Forms
Another reason to get a second opinion is that multiple treatment forms exist for most illnesses and diseases. Every doctor has their own preferred techniques and strategies, so you shouldn’t assume that treatment plans will remain the same across the board.
If your doctor tells you that you need a major surgery, it’s always wise to get a second opinion, In fact, that doctor will probably advise you to seek another opinion in order to avoid liability. If you get two treatment strategies that are totally opposite, you may find it helpful and assuring to get a third. Your insurance may not pay for multiple diagnoses, but nobody can tell you how many opinions you can get.
- Diagnoses Aren’t Definitive
A diagnosis is not definitive. Diseases often share complicated symptoms with other illnesses and it’s impossible for a doctor to recognize with 100 percent certainty the cause of your disease and how it will interact with different procedures and medications. They can certainly make an educated decision based on previous experiences, but it’s imperative that you understand diagnoses can be wrong.
You don’t want to develop an attitude of skepticism towards your medical team, but it is wise to ask questions and seek out additional opinions. Good doctors are confident in their abilities and won’t be offended by your desire to seek out a second diagnosis or treatment plan. This happens frequently and shouldn’t prevent you from reaching out to other sources of knowledge.
Knowledge is Power
Being diagnosed with a serious illness is a big deal. It’s not something you want to sit back and think about. However, it’s also not something you want to act on immediately. The best thing you can do is gather a couple different opinions and then decide how to proceed. Diagnoses can be wrong and you certainly don’t want to take risks and spend money when you aren’t 100 percent sure of what’s going on.