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Do I have a right to a second opinion?

Posted by Be Well

Do I have a right to a second opinion?
Answers (3)
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If you are unhappy with the advice you have been given by your doctor, consultant, or another healthcare professional, you may ask for a second (or further) opinion.

Although you do not have a legal right to a second opinion, you have the right to ask for one. A healthcare professional will rarely refuse to refer you for one unless there is sufficient reason.

You should not limit a second opinion only to instances where you are unhappy with the advice you've been given by your doctor.  For any serious diagnosis a second opinion, on the patient's part, should be routine.  It's not about good or bad advice.  It's about getting opinions on alternatives for treatment.  One doctor may have more information or may be located at a teaching hospital where that particular diagnosis is a specialty.  You want to make sure you're getting the best treatment possible before committing to any single treatment plan.

Second opinions are crucial in another way. All docs have various "bedside manners" you want one that is competent and yes, excellent and recommended in her/his field. But the individual's personality and that of her/his office and staff must be compatible with yours. If you like brusque, to the point, I-know-everything-so-don't-question-me, arroganat docs, then you are not going to like the type of doc I prefer. I want one who answers my questions, who informs me as to all options available, who looks me straight in the eye, who treats me as a human being worthy of respect and dignity. When I met my oncologist I knew right away he was the man I wanted on my medical team. But I went to get another opinion because that is what I do. #2 agreed with #1's assessment and course of treatment, but his attitude was condescending and obnoxious. I ran back to Doc #1 without a backwards glance. If I had to face Doc #2 for each of my cancer appts. I know I would have dreaded it emotionally and when fighting a disease such as cancer, emotional distress is something you do not want to have to deal with. Mutual respect and understanding goes very far in helping you heal and recover. You are the customer, the health care arena is offering you services. Check out the ones available and make an intelligent and knowledgeable decision; it is your life and your money!

Thank you, Peg Feodoroff

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