Odds are, you place a lot of trust in your doctor. Such medical professionals are highly educated, and they also undergo significant training before they are permitted to practice medicine. The very nature of the doctor-patient relationship is based largely on trust, but even doctors are prone to the occasional human error. That is why, in a number of circumstances, it may make sense to seek a second medical opinion. You may find it beneficial to seek an opinion separate from your primary doctor if he or she:
Recommends a serious, but not emergency, surgical procedure
There is a reason you have to sign all types of paperwork before undergoing surgery. Every surgery has risks, and that is why you may want to seek a second opinion if it is recommended that you go under the knife. In addition to the obvious medical risks that surgeries pose, they may, too, prove highly expensive and leave you with ample debt for much of your life. Thus, it may prove wise to confirm with another medical professional before moving forward with a non-emergency, physician-recommended surgery.
Recommends medical treatment that is particularly invasive
Another situation in which you may consider seeking a second medical opinion is if your primary physician recommends you undergo treatment that is particularly invasive, difficult or long-term in nature. For instance, some medications are intended to be used for the remainder of your life, but they may present new risks or harsh side effects. Before beginning a substantial method of treatment, it may be wise to make sure it is absolutely warranted.
Does not adequately listen to or address your concerns
Doctors are busy people, and they must often cram numerous appointments, meetings and treatments into their daily schedules. You may not always feel as if your physician is listening as attentively to your concerns and symptoms as you may like, which has the potential to lead to misdiagnosis, and this is another situation in which obtaining a second opinion is probably warranted.
Tips for seeking that second opinion
Should you decide to pursue that second opinion, it is wise to make sure the physician you go to for it has absolutely no relation to your primary physician. You do not want the doctors to be relatives, and you also do not want them to work in the same office or hospital. You want to find an entirely separate medical professional, and the idea is to hopefully get the same diagnosis or recommended treatment method from both doctors.
If you feel your primary physician misdiagnosed you or failed to diagnose you in a prompt manner, you may want to seek legal assistance.