The first physician recommended a mastectomy. The second physician disagreed, saying a simple lumpectomy would be sufficient. The third opinion saved Jenyse White’s life. Take it from this breast cancer survivor: getting a second opinion, and even a third, is critical when facing any cancer diagnosis.
Once you’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis, your first question will probably be “What are my options?” The second question might (and should) be: “Do you have a recommendation for a second opinion?”
Second opinions are, in the words of many within the healthcare industry, essential in the case of critical illness and a right of every patient. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover or even require an in-person second opinion consultation with a specialist prior to treatment. Medicare even pays for a third opinion if the second opinion differs significantly from the first.
Note: When urgent treatment is required, it is important not to wait to receive a second opinion. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.
Think about the last time you bought a car. If I were a betting woman, I would wager that you shopped around at many dealers, spoke with friends and family about your options, and gathered all the information you could before deciding on the vehicle that would hopefully transport you for years to come. As well you should – a purchase of that size is a big commitment.
When you're confronted with a complex or critical health care diagnosis, you may be scared or confused by the prognosis or treatment recommended. This is often the time patients seek another opinion. Generations ago, patients relied on their personal physicians to make all their health care related decisions. But no single physician is infallible, and most decisions are better when scrutinized by another informed source.
As a patient, when and how do you go about getting a second opinion?