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How Critical is it to Seek a Second Opinion if Your Doctor Diagnoses a Serious Condition or Recommends a Surgery to You?

March 12, 2020

Comedian Henny Youngman, the “master of the one-liner,” often joked about the man who sees his psychiatrist.

The doctor says, “You’re crazy.”

The patient responded, “I want a second opinion!”

“Okay, you’re ugly too!”

It’s an oldie but a goodie (and yes, quite corny), but getting a serious medical diagnosis is no laughing matter.

What to do When Your Doctor Gives You Bad News in an Important Diagnosis or Recommended Surgery

It’s a moment that everyone can imagine and would dread: you’ve had battery upon battery of tests, and are asked to report to your doctor’s office to go over the results.  If you don’t get the “all clear,” it can be a very stressful time for you and your family.

Many people who experience this and receive bad news feel confused and vulnerable, even with the support of their close family and friends. Trying to make informed decisions at this stage can be very difficult as you work through the healthcare system and insurance coverage—particularly when you must choose between several complicated options for treatment.

One of the primary questions going through your mind is whether you’re certain that you’ve been diagnosed correctly and are making the best treatment choices. When thoughts of life-changing or perhaps life-threatening consequences are racing through your mind, you should seek a second opinion.

A good physician will encourage confirmation of their diagnosis and won’t try to discourage the patient from educating herself about the issue. A second opinion can provide a patient with comfort and reassurance because it gives confidence about the choices she is making about her health.

A second opinion lets the patient see whether or not the diagnosis is correct, and it helps determine if the recommended treatment is the best for the particular patient circumstances. For example, if the patient is diagnosed with cancer, treatment plans will vary based upon the specific type of cancer.

Roughly 21% of adults report having personally experienced a medical error, according to a 2017 national survey of the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey also found that when errors happen, they often have significant and lasting effects on the patient’s physical and emotional health, financial stability, and family relationships. This impact may entitle a patient to damages in a medical negligence lawsuit for injuries.

What Remedies Can a Patient Seek for a Misdiagnosis after a Second Opinion?

A patient who has been injured by a misdiagnosis from a doctor or hospital may bring a lawsuit for medical malpractice.

In a medical malpractice action, a personal injury lawyer will show a court that that a physician breached the standard of care, which caused injury to the patient. There are several types of medical malpractice claims, including if a doctor:

  • Makes a misdiagnosis where she provides you with an incorrect diagnosis;
  • Fails to diagnose a medical issue;
  • Prescribes the wrong medicine or an incorrect dosage;
  • Fails to order a test that would correctly and accurately diagnose your medical issue;
  • Misinterprets or misreads the findings of a test; or
  • Commits an error during your surgery.

If you believe that you or a family member has been injured by a physician error, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Buchanan Firm.

What Questions should I Ask When Getting a Second Opinion?

Here are some questions to ask the doctor you see for a second opinion about your medical condition:

  • Is the diagnosis I received from the first physician correct?
  • Is the treatment plan that she recommended the best for my specific situation?
  • If you don’t think so, what treatment plan is best for me?
  • Are there any alternative treatments for this diagnosis?
  • Do you know of any other medications that may be of benefit to a person in my situation?
  • Are there any severe side effects with this treatment?
  • Will my other health issues impact the treatment for this diagnosis?
  • Are there complications with the proposed treatment I should be aware?
  • What’s my prognosis?
  • If the first physician recommended a surgery, is it one that can be delayed, or must I undergo surgery right away?

When getting a second opinion, try to get as much information as possible. This will help you and your family make informed decisions and prevent misdiagnosis or unnecessary surgery.

Contact us!

For a free consultation with an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney, contact Buchanan Firm. We can discuss your situation if you believe you’ve been injured by a misdiagnosis or bad surgery. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Dearborn, Jackson, and Detroit, and rural towns such as Ludington, Petoskey, Big Rapids, Frankenmuth, and Three Rivers. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!