Whenever you face a major medical decision, a second opinion may be in order.
You may be hesitant to bring it up, especially if you’ve known your doctor for years and have built a relationship of trust and respect. But second opinions are not only acceptable, they’re expected in the medical field.
Once you understand the value of getting a second medical opinion, you’ll realize that the temporary discomfort you feel in asking for another doctor’s input is minor next to the potential consequences.
Dr. Dave Larson at SourceMD: Integrated Wellness Solutions understands that facing a serious health condition can be scary, and the last thing you need is the added stress of pitting one doctor against another.
That’s why he’s here to explain the second-opinion process and what to expect, so you can feel at ease being an advocate for your own health care.
How to determine if and when you need a second opinion
Although there is no hard and fast rule about what constitutes the need for a second opinion, the scenario is best reserved for extenuating circumstances, including:
- You don’t understand or agree with your diagnosis
- You think your doctor may have missed something
- You’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition
- The treatment puts you at risk
- The treatment is unproven and/or experimental
- Your treatment isn’t working
- The treatment is very expensive
- You can’t decide between two viable treatments
- You have other medical conditions that may complicate your treatment
- You no longer trust your doctor
In fact, add your insurance company to this list. Some carriers require that you have a second opinion on record before approving a treatment.
Often, the diagnosis or treatment recommendation will be the same, but 21% of the time, the conclusions are different.
Finding a good second-opinion doctor
When you need a second opinion, you want to make it count. It’s important to find a reputable physician — preferably someone who specializes in your condition.
At the very least, choose a medical professional with at least the same degree of knowledge and skill as the first doctor.
Dr. Larson is a highly experienced physician with significant experience in multiple fields of medicine, including:
He is double-board certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He treats patients with physical and mental health issues with the goal of helping them achieve complete and balanced wellness.
His multidisciplinary, integrative approach to health care covers you from head to toe; inside and out; body, mind, and soul.
Telling your doctor you want a second opinion
In most cases, your original doctor won’t bat an eye when you tell them you want a second opinion.
But if they seem offended, be prepared for the reaction, and be ready to stand your ground. It’s fully within your rights to ask for affirmation from another professional.
You can still be kind and respectful. Simply thank them for their diligence and let them know that the decision is too important to make without knowing you’ve been just as diligent on your end.
Also, make sure you ask for and obtain all medical records pertaining to your case so your next doctor has access to all the information they need.
What to say to the second-opinion doctor
You might be tempted to keep the first doctor’s diagnosis to yourself when you see a new physician or specialist, and we understand why.
You may wonder if the doctors will stick together and watch one another’s back. Will the second doctor come to the same conclusions regardless of an independent exam?
Or you might think that the power of suggestion is too strong, and the second doctor will miss something because they’re only looking for one thing.
But rest assured that when you come to Dr. Larson for your second opinion, none of that comes into play. His only priority is your health and well-being.
In fact, Dr. Larson is known for his ability to develop the most effective treatment plans, because he’s especially skilled at getting to the root cause of complex conditions.
He’s never satisfied with looking at a problem from only one angle and goes to great lengths to understand how every aspect of your life and health may be contributing to your condition or conditions. This means that his treatments take into account more than a few tests and symptoms.
Where to start
Dr. Larson is exactly the type of physician you want in your corner, and he's a perfect choice for a second opinion. If you need to confirm your diagnosis, call us at 760-230-1317 to set up a consultation with Dr. Larson at SourceMD: Integrated Wellness Solutions in Encinitas, California.