Updated February 22, 2023

When Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Making major healthcare decisions can be overwhelming and frightening. In addition to deciphering medical jargon, weighing benefits and risks, and communicating with insurance companies, you have to remember that doctors are people, and people aren’t perfect. Mistakes can happen, and when they are the result of negligence, they may be considered medical malpractice.

At some point in the decision-making process, you might consider getting a second opinion—asking for a doctor other than your primary physician to make a diagnosis or treatment recommendation.

The benefits of seeking a second opinion are plentiful: They can lead to alternative or lower-cost treatments and help you make educated decisions about your health.

To reduce your risk of becoming a medical malpractice victim, you should do your homework, bring someone you trust to be your advocate, and get a second opinion.

When should you consider getting a Second Opinion?

Consulting a doctor other than your primary physician gives you the opportunity to take advantage of their varied backgrounds, experience, and knowledge. Consider seeking a second opinion in any of the following scenarios:

  • You have been diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening condition such as cancer.
  • The recommended treatment is risky, invasive, or experimental.
  • The diagnosis is unclear.
  • There is no established consensus on the treatment or surgery.

Above all, listen to your gut: If something tells you that you need a second opinion, get a second opinion.

How do you ask for a Second Opinion?

Notifying your doctor that you are seeking a second opinion may seem awkward at first, but keep in mind that second opinions are expected and sometimes required. Follow these steps to make the process easier.

Find an Expert

Your primary doctor is an excellent resource. Ask them for the name of an expert they recommend, but be sure to request someone from a different hospital or institution. If you don’t want to ask your doctor for help, contact a university hospital, a local or regional medical society, or your insurance company.

Make an Appointment

When setting up a face-to-face meeting with the second doctor, arrange for your medical records to be sent beforehand. Additionally, request that their report be sent to your primary doctor so that all your information is at the same office.

Ask Questions

At your appointment, ask questions similar to those you asked your primary doctor. When the second doctor gives their suggestions, ask how they interpreted your test or lab results, how they decided on a treatment plan, and what they have recommended to other patients with the same diagnosis.

What do you do with a Second Opinion?

After meeting with another doctor, consider your next steps. If both doctors agree, the decision may be easy to make. If the doctors disagree, you could ask your primary physician to help you decide, do more research, or even seek a third opinion.

Remember: The final choice is yours. Keep advocating for yourself until you find a solution that works for you.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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