The Importance of Getting a Second Opinion

Many people believe that the opinion of one doctor is just as good as any other, but in many situations that simply isn’t true. Sometimes the initial doctor a patient visits is only a general practitioner and therefore is not an expert in that particular type of injury, or the doctor was overconfident and made an incorrect assumption. Interestingly enough, a study by the Mayo Clinic shows that 88% of the patients who seek a second opinion or finding confirmation receive a new diagnosis.

The Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice published research done by a medical team led by James Naessens, a health care policy researcher at Mayo Clinic, who determined the usefulness of second opinions. According to his research, 21% of the patients received a completely new diagnosis, while 66% were given redefined results. Only 12% of cases were confirmed as accurate by the first diagnoses.

After reviewing the team’s findings, Naessens felt concerned that 1 out of every 5 referral patients could be receiving a completely incorrect diagnoses from their first doctor. While the reason for the misdiagnoses was not confirmed in each of the 286 cases the research team analyzed, it is clear that not every practitioner encourages their patients to seek a second opinion. In the case that a doctor is unsure of the diagnoses, he or she should always encourage the patient to seek a second opinion.

According to research by the Mayo Clinic, many health care providers will not encourage their patients to seek a second opinion because to do so could mean an increase in cost. Many patients would have to see a specialist outside of their network for a second opinion, which leaves healthcare providers to pay for that visit as well as the first. To negate this costs, some healthcare providers simply don’t allow their patients to go outside of their network, thus limiting the number of referrals possible.

However, despite the increased cost for a second opinion, the alternative is a misdiagnoses that can lead to serious side effects, or even death. Receiving an incorrect diagnoses can lead patients to receive treatment for an ailment they do not have, or could delay them in finding the help they need, thus worsening their condition. Diagnostic errors not only increase the risk of patient harm, they also contribute significantly to the overall quality of healthcare.

If you are ever injured we strongly encourage you to seek a second opinion. The medical and legal processes following an injury can be overwhelming, which is where our attorneys at Webb & Taylor, LLC come in. At Webb & Taylor, LLC, our legal team has the experience and knowledge you need in your corner while you file your personal injury claim and fight for compensation for your damages, including medical costs.

Too learn more about the Mayo Clinic study, click here.

For more information, or to ask about our free consultations, contact Webb & Taylor, LLC, today.

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