Now that you are over 50, you are more prone to serious and life threatening health issues.
Unfortunately, if those issues are not treated correctly the consequences can be dire.
If you are questioning your medical care, it may be time for a second opinion.
You should not feel as if you cannot trust your doctor or railroaded into a decision. There is a statistic you should always remember. 50% of all doctors graduated in the lower 50% of their class.
Several recent studies yielded very serious, shocking results. One proved that 30% of most cancer patients receive a completely different recommendation in their second opinion than the first, including in “life threatening or life altering” cases.
In 1999, it is estimated that almost 2% of all patients received the wrong diagnosis. One man was diagnosed with cancer, but really had a severe infection. Another study revealed that treatment differs substantially between geographic regions.
We are our own best patient advocates. This is why second opinions are often a medical necessity. However, you may still feel unsure about a second opinion. These tips will help you decide when to seek a second opinion, and when not to.
- The major medical institutions normally offer these four recommendations. Seek another opinion if surgery is recommended, if you have exhausted treatment options, or if treatment is not available.
- If something risky, costly, or experimental is recommended consult another doctor.
- If you are concerned with lasting side affects, check out other options.
- If your doctor dismisses a minor, but lingering, issue, a second opinion may put you at ease.
- If your doctor cannot sympathize about how seriously even a minor issue impacts your life, they are not treating your total health.
- Do not change doctors simply because of bedside manner. You may need a blunt, tough provider to “shock” you into making good health choices.
- If one treatment contradicts a treatment for another medical issue, make sure your doctors communicate. You need doctors who take a team approach to your care.
- Ask rational and researched questions. If you are not getting sound, logical answers in return, you should consider going somewhere else.
- Your questions should not irritate your doctor, even if you question their advice.
- Your doctor should use laymen’s terms without talking down to you.
- It is okay if your doctor cannot answer your question, but they should be willing to promptly research the answer.
- Do not seek a second opinion simply because you are not hearing the answer you want to hear.
Do not worry about offending your doctor. It is a business like any other and second opinions are very normal in medicine. It is so common that major institutes have departments dedicated to them.
If you discuss a second opinion with your doctor and they seem offended, that should send up a red flag.
When you seek a second opinion, it may be with a more qualified doctor or one with a different philosophy. Trust your gut feeling and you will not regret decisions later.
No matter your which opinion you choose, it is important that you know all the facts and all your options. Now that you are over 50, it is even more important that you get the best medical care. This is your body, if you will not stand up for it- who will?