Q: Why do you recommend that patients get a second opinion?
A: Research has found that getting a second opinion results in a new diagnosis in as many as 30 percent of all cases. It’s second nature for a physician to want a patient to get a second opinion: You’re giving him the chance to have his work and his instincts checked by another qualified doctor, which will only result in three possibilities:
- The consulting doctor could agree with his diagnosis and advice completely, which will make everyone feel more confident in going forward.
- The consulting doctor could agree on some points, but offer different thoughts on others.
- The next opinion could be completely different.
In either of those last two scenarios, you’ve given your doctor a free opportunity to learn something. So from a purely selfless standpoint, never feel embarrassed about going for a second opinion. Your health insurance might require it in many circumstances, but even if not, your doctor almost assuredly expects you to do so. And your doctor should thank you for it. In case he or she forgets, I will.
—Dr. Mehmet Oz, Sharecare.com expert, Cardiac surgeon at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital and star of The Dr. Oz Show
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