In a previous post we discussed diagnosis day, but should you accept the diagnosis that was given and move forward immediately towards creating an action plan? That is a very personal question. Some physicians suggest you always consider getting a second opinion to confirm the diagnosis. Some families want to get a second opinion because they want confirmation. Whether you do or not is a personal choice. However, here are four reasons to consider getting a second opinion.
Reason #1: Confirmation
The most frequent reason for getting a second opinion is just to get a confirmation of the diagnosis. A doctor is like a scientist that is trying to find enough evidence to link to a specific illness or disorder. If all the evidence was not provided, or they can attribute the same information to several diagnoses, it is important to consider that the initial diagnosis might be incorrect.
Reason #2: Evaluate Treatment Plan
If a doctor were to suggest an expensive medical procedure or an invasive surgery, you may want to get a second opinion. While the treatment might be helpful, it is possible there is a less expensive or safer option available. Anytime you think a treatment might be expensive or cause a lot of pain for your loved one, it is always a good idea to consider at least one other opinion.
Reason #3: Alternative Treatments
While western medicine has saved many lives, there are now many alternative treatments that might not be very well-known to your doctor. If you want to consider an alternative treatment, you can provide the doctor with the diagnosis and ask if they feel there are different treatments you could consider.
Reason #4: Evaluate Lab Results
If the person you are caring for gets lab work done at a regular internal and you are supposed monitor their numbers, it is often not a bad idea to seek a second opinion if you feel the results have or have not changed as you would have expected. You might also consider another opinion if you feel the results were misread.
Do You Want a Second Opinion?
There are many things to consider when caring for another person, but isn’t always an exact rule for seeking a second opinion. However, the real question to consider is, do you want one? If you do, then get it. It is better safe than sorry as it relates to someone’s health.
If you get a second opinion, you can store the test results as well as the doctor’s contact information in your virtual file cabinet within the Mindlight App.
Source: Adapted from “The Caregiver’s Toolbox” by Carolyn P. Hartley, MLS, and Peter Wong and “Caregiver’s Handbook: A Practical, Visual Guide for The Home Caregiver.”
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