When is a second medical opinion a good idea?

Florida residents should be confident in their right to seek a second medical opinion and know how and when to do so.

When a person in Florida is told by a doctor that a particular course of treatment is recommended, it can be a natural response to simply follow what is being offered. However, there are many times when it may be better for the patient to do some more research before embarking on a procedure or type of treatment.

Seeking a second medical opinion can allow patients the ability to more fully understand their own health and to take a more active role in it.

Several situations may warrant second opinions

WebMD suggests that anytime a very risky or potentially experimental procedure or treatment is offered, patients should evaluate other opinions and options. This is also true when a diagnosis is offered that is very serious or even life threatening.

The American Cancer Society indicates that if one doctor is not necessarily a specialist in a certain area, talking to another one who is may be in the patient's best interests.

Potential benefits of getting a second opinion

For some people, getting a second opinion may actually help them to feel more comfortable with a first doctor's recommendation. It may also confirm a diagnosis which in turn makes people more confident moving ahead.

In situations where a second opinion offers different information, patients can benefit by the ability to consider alternative treatments that may be less invasive. It may also allow them to make decisions that are more in line with their beliefs and lifestyle.

As the Patient Advocate Foundation indicates, a second opinion is not always about right or wrong but about getting a different look at a matter.

That said, there may be some situations when a second opinion highlights what could have been a serious medical error such as with a missed or incorrect diagnosis.

Preparing for a second medical opinion

Before visiting a new doctor or surgeon, patients should always collect complete records from their first provider. This will naturally require them to tell the first doctor about their actions. They should not worry as this is their right. In addition, a responsible doctor will welcome such proactivity on the part of a patient. Some health insurance companies may even require a second opinion in some circumstances.

Knowing when to get more help

At any point, a patient in Florida should always know their health is the priority. This means that if they believe an error has been made on the part of a health care provider, they should contact an attorney promptly so that they can get help in protecting their rights.

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