It is an observed fact that people seek second opinions whenever their doctor suggests surgery or diagnoses them with a chronic disease. Acquisition of a second opinion not only cross-checks their condition, but it also helps them in understanding it more clearly. Patients planning on checking with a second doctor always wonder, what questions to ask when getting a second opinion?
A plethora of questions circulates their mind when they think about it. However, there are certain ones which are essential for a comprehensive understanding of one’s situation.
The Necessity Of A Second Opinion
According to Jerome Groopman, M.D., and a renowned Medical Writer, a second opinion becomes essential in the following circumstances
- Toxic or life-threatening treatment
- Before participating in a drug trial
- When the patient is not satisfied with the diagnosis
- Prior to an experimental treatment that involves instruments or devices
Best Time To Ask For A Second Opinion
If a patient is directed to have a surgery, then he/she should ask for a second opinion as soon as the doctor diagnoses him/her. In fact, experts suggest, it is better to ask the same doctor to recommend another one for a second opinion. This is because, delays in surgery could further complicate the situation; therefore, it is essential for the patient to completely understand his/her condition, and make an informed decision.
Questions To Ask When Getting A Second Opinion
Below is a description of a few questions to ask when getting a second opinion, and the reasons for their inquiry:
What are the various treatment choices?
Most of the diseases have multiple treatment options, and patients have the right to choose from them, which makes it an essential question while seeking a second opinion. According to a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Ted Epperly, choosing a treatment option should be a mutual decision of the patient and the doctor. If the doctor refuses to explain multiple choices, then the patients should seek a second opinion. He/she should discuss all the options with the second doctor, and make a decision accordingly.
What Impact Will This Treatment Have On My Everyday Life?
Medical treatments and surgeries can have varying impacts on everyday life. Therefore, it is one of the essential elements to determine while acquiring a second opinion. Patients believe that their life would become normal after going through the treatment; however, this isn’t the case with everyone. Some patients might not be able to participate in their normal lives like before, after going through a certain treatment. The chief of Patient Experience at Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Adrienne Boissy, suggests that it is always better to fully understand the outcomes of a surgery or other medical procedures.
Is There Any Treatment Which I Can Do On My Own To Improve My Condition?
A patient’s living, eating, resting, and smoking routines are responsible for 70% of his/her condition. Slight changes in these patterns can, either have a positive, or a negative effect on the treatment. Therefore, patients should thoroughly discuss their routines, both during the diagnosis and while taking a second opinion. The second doctor’s opinion validates the routine, and it becomes easier for the patient’s brain to accept it.
What Will Be The Side Effects Of The Treatment?
Sometimes, the doctors who are proposing the treatment miss the side effects’ details, or they are simply hesitant in sharing them. This is where a second opinion comes handy. The other doctor critically analyzes the suggested treatment and explains the patient about the potential side effects.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Undergo The Treatment?
Many patients are afraid of medical procedures, specifically, surgeries. They ponder, what will happen if they don’t get the treatment. In such cases, it is always better to consult a doctor instead of delaying the treatment. Thanks to technology, people can even consult a certified online medical practitioner for a second opinion. He/she will explain to the patient about the potential dangers and will help him/her in making the correct decision.
These are some of the important questions to ask when getting a second opinion. They help patients in understanding their condition, and in making a better decision. It is always better to spend some time and money on a second opinion from another doctor, then staying confused and uninformed.