Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Getting a second opinion

I always loved the old joke. A guy goes to the doctor and the doctor says, "You have two months to live." the guy says, "I want a second opinion." And the doctor saysm "OK, you're ugly, too."

But I digress.

Barbara Miller, MD, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Penn State Children's Hospital, says it's perfectly OK to consult another doctor if you don't have complete trust in your doctor or feel you haven't heard all the options.

Oftem doctors recommend a second opinion if there are treatment options they don't offer.

In a field where therapies are changing quickly, the second doctor may well know of things the first one does not.

In an emergency situation, say a hot appendix, there may not be time to get a second opinion. Or in the case of gallbladder surgery, say, there is little controversy on how to proceed.

But in other cases:

--Check with your insurance company to see if a second is covered.  Many companies do cover seconds--or thirds--if it can be justified.

If you get six opinions--they may not like that.

If you go to a different institution for your second, remember that if you choose that doctor, it may be a hassle to get there. Think it through. But also listen to your intuition.

Remember, two different opinions may not mean one is right and one is wrong.

Your doctor will not be--or should not be--upset if you seek a second. In fact, he or she may be interested in another doctor's take.

Still, patients sometimes feel they are being disloyal. You aren't. You are being smart.

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