When to seek a second opinion

When to seek a second opinion

If you’re faced with a diagnosis or a form of treatment you’re not comfortable with, it’s important to consider the option of a second opinion. However, many of us conclude that our doctors – with their many years of medical training and practice – should clearly know more than we do about our condition.

Here are three scenarios where it might be in your best interest to seek more than one opinion from a health services provider:

Before surgery

If your doctor tells you that your condition does not need immediate surgery or treatment, you have time to talk further with your doctor to decide what’s best for you. You may want to seek a second opinion from another physician at this time. Doctors don’t always agree about the best course of treatment for a disease, condition or injury.

However, you do have the right to know your options, seek another doctor’s expertise in helping you review those choices, and have your wishes considered before surgery. In the case of emergency surgery, do not wait to get a second opinion.

Cancer treatment

Cancer treatment is such a complex and life-altering health issue that many patients don’t know which questions to ask. When the diagnosis is grave, we wonder if another doctor may have a difference of opinion in both the diagnosis and the course of treatment.

If your test results are not clear or conclusive, getting a second opinion may be a welcomed option.

Lack of comfort

A situation may arise in which you and your doctor are not on the same page, especially if you don't have a long track record of experience with the doctor. If you are not comfortable with your treatment options, seek a second opinion.

The challenge for some of us resides in how to broach the subject, but the reality is that it's common for patients to seek second opinions and most doctors are comfortable with the request.

When you have selected a physician for your second opinion, make sure your medical records, X-rays and test results have all been shared with the new doctor before your first appointment. If not, you may have to repeat the tests and may incur additional expenses.

If you're ready to seek a second opinion for your medical condition, seek out the expertise of a highly rated New York City-area doctor.


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