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How do I know if I need a second opinion?

New York residents who may not feel comfortable with a diagnosis should learn when and how to seek second opinions.

It would be a wonderful thing if people could have completed trust in the care they receive from doctors, nurses, surgeons and other health care providers or facilities. But, sadly, this is not possible.

Errors can and do happen and in some situations these errors leave people with serious injuries. Some patients even die because of mistakes made by medical professionals or health care systems. For this reason, seeking a second opinion can be important and may help to avert a serious error.

Concerns about offending providers

The Patient Advocate Foundation explains that many people indicate a hesitance to get second opinions for fear of offending their original practitioners. What patients should understand, however, is not only is it their right to get additional input but that taking this step may give them good insight into the ethical side of their original doctors.

Most providers should welcome and even encourage such proactivity on the part of their patients. They know that every provider might have a different way of looking at things that can benefit patients. In fact, an original provider might well be a great source of assistance in locating another provider from whom to seek a second opinion .

When a second opinion makes sense

Certainly it is not necessary to go to two doctors for every type of visit. Knowing when a fresh view is appropriate is important. According to WebMD, one time that may warrant this step is the diagnosis of a serious or potentially life-threatening illness or condition. Another situation could be when a physician has recommended a treatment that is very invasive.

Benefits of a second opinion

Sometimes a second opinion might corroborate a first one, making a patient feel more confident with an original provider and recommendation. When a second opinion offers new ideas, the patient may have the ability to choose which approach makes the most sense for them.

Of course, it is also possible that a second opinion may well prevent a serious mistake. An example of this could be when a first doctor indicates a person has no serious problem but a second opinion reveals an aggressive form of cancer.

Patient proactivity through informed decisions

At the end of the day, Illinois residents have the right to be informed about their health at every step of the way. The more they know, the more they can make appropriate decisions for themselves or their loved ones. When an error has happened, talking with an attorney is essential. This can be a vital means of learning how to seek compensation.