WHEN IS A SECOND OPINION MOST IMPORTANT?
One can apply for a second opinion at any time and with any diagnosis if there is any doubt about its accuracy. But there are situations when a second opinion is critically needed:
- The treatment received does not bring noticeable relief.
- Operative intervention is recommended, but the patient wants to find less radical treatment methods.
- Quite expensive medicines were prescribed and there are doubts about the advisability of taking them. Perhaps there are cheaper alternatives.
- Unclear diagnosis in difficult cases.
- Suspicion of a rare disease.
The inability to get a correct diagnosis and treatment from a specialized doctor. Not every hospital has a geneticist, nephrologist or spinal surgeon.
Also, a second opinion will be useful when the doctor's explanations are not clear enough and informative.
SECOND OPINION: MOST POPULAR BRANCHES AND QUESTIONS
- How urgently, and to what extent, should the recommended surgery be performed?
- Is it possible to find a treatment course without surgery, if so, how?
- Is it possible to replace open surgery with endoscopic intervention?
- What could be the consequences?
- How long will the rehabilitation period last?
- Diagnosis accuracy?
- Which laboratory and instrumental examinations are needed?
- What is the probability of a complete cure?
- Is there a choice of alternative ways of treatment?
- What are the consequences of chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
- Could other diseases cause such symptoms?
- What should be done to make a differential diagnosis?
- Are all prescribed medications really needed? Are they proven effective?
- What side effects could be expected?
- How justified is the recommended treatment method?
- What is the future prognosis?
WHEN A SECOND OPINION IS NOT NEEDED
WHAT IS NEEDED FOR GETTING A SECOND OPINION
For an objective consultation it is important to provide all the necessary medical documentation. It can be:
- The results of laboratory tests and instrumental examinations that were carried out for a specific disease.
- The results of preventive examinations.
- Medical reports of consultations and conclusions of doctors of other specialties.
- Reports of the previous surgical interventions.
Even the results of tests and studies that are not related to the particular case are important. They can be helpful if a misdiagnosis was made initially.
The result of a remote consultation with a foreign doctor may be affected by an incorrect translation of medical terms, so before sending documents, one need to clarify the quality of a professional translation.
WHAT TO DO IF THE OPINIONS DIFFER?
This is a very possible situation. Any doctor can make mistakes. To find out who is right, you need to do the following:
- Contact your doctor again, discuss the results of the second opinion with him.
- Clarify once again the arguments and conclusions of both doctors.
- Get another consultation. For example, a doctor with a narrower specialization.
WHAT TO DO IN AN UNEXPECTED SITUATION
Not always the attending doctor reacts positively to the conclusion of a foreign colleague. He can even change his attitude towards a patient who has begun searching for alternative information sources. In this case, it is better to change doctor, the good one is always ready to listen to the arguments of colleagues.
It is noteworthy that in Germany, the USA and Israel, getting a second opinion is a standard procedure that any patient can undergo. In many other countries this branche is just beginning to develop. But this service can already be included in health insurance. After all, the advantages of a remote second opinion are obvious, especially for those who has no opportunity to go abroad for a full check-up there.