When to seek a second medical opinion

When you visit the doctor, you probably assume that he or she is giving you accurate information, and most of the time, you are probably right. Even highly trained physicians are not completely immune to human error, however, and misdiagnoses and related medical errors do happen.

Therefore, there are several instances in which it might make sense to seek a second medical opinion to ensure you are getting the right advice and treatment. You may want to consider consulting a second physician if:

You question whether your concerns are being heard

Just as you may struggle to get through all the tasks you have in a given day, your doctor, too, is probably adhering to a tight schedule. This means he or she may have only minutes to spend with you assessing your condition and listening to your concerns. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor needs to have enough time to thoroughly assess your symptoms and review your medical history. If you feel as if you were rushed through your appointment, or that your doctor simply did not provide you with enough time to fully articulate your thoughts and symptoms, it may be a good time to pay a visit to another physician.

A non-emergency surgery is recommended as a course of treatment

Any time you go under the knife, you assume a certain level of risk. Thus, you may be wise to try and obtain a second medical opinion if you are told you need to undergo a serious, but non-emergency, surgical procedure as a method of treatment. In addition to the inevitable dangers that surgery presents and the long recovery times that are sometimes associated with it, it can also prove tremendously expensive, even with insurance. Therefore, it cannot hurt to find out if alternative, less-invasive treatment methods may be available to you.

You feel uneasy about a recommended course of action

You may be inclined to take the word of your doctor as the gold standard. But you are the one who has to live with your condition every day, and no one has a better idea of your symptoms and how they are affecting your overall health and wellness than you. Therefore, you may be wise to place a little more trust in your own gut instincts. If you suspect something is wrong with you and your doctor informs you otherwise, consider seeking a second opinion. Even if the second physician you see confirms the word of the first, you can rest assured you are following the right method of treatment and quiet that voice inside your head that was suggesting something may not be right.