“Too many cooks spoil the broth” goes the old maxim. But as with all sayings, there is a counter-point. Too few cooks can lead to an equally unappealing meal.
When it comes to medical care, second opinions are a huge past of the diagnostic process. Getting a different reading, and thus a different perspective can be crucial in a patient receiving the best treatment possible. Any discrepancy between the two opinions doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on either physician, in fact often a compromise between the two positions can be the best option.
Here’s 5 reasons why second opinions are so important to a patient’s treatment:
Human or Technical Error
As much as some people may like to disagree, nobody is perfect. And no machine is perfect either some specialist may miss things when examining samples, maybe some physicians will read results differently, or maybe a machine has a glitch. All of these things are possible even with today’s ultra-modern technology.
Add to this the fact that tests, especially cancer tests, can often come back inconclusive.
Medicine is not, and never has been an exact science. This subjective nature means that second opinions are not just wise, they are vital when it comes to providing the best possible care.
Quite often, it is the doctor who will recommend their patient gets a second opinion. They will know more than anybody that there will always be people out there more qualified to give their opinion. Not only can consulting a specialist physician offer a more relevant opinion, they usually have access to better, more specialized equipment to run further tests, and forward the results back to the original doctor.
Often, by seeking out a second opinion, a patient will benefit from a different perspective when it comes to making decisions. When presented with a range of options, many patients can struggle to get their head around it all. The process of getting a different person’s perspective can help give them to ‘step back’ and feel some clarity in their mind.
Often, a second opinion can be required by a patient’s health insurance plan the cynical side of me knows that this is probably done for the same reason you get multiple quotes when you need a builder: Price.
The none-cynical side of me thinks that it is done to get the best possible care for their customers.
Unfortunately I don’t have a non-cynical side.
Many people need to build up a level of trust with their physicians before they can take their word as gospel. This can mean that getting second opinions can in fact help to build up that level of trust between doctor and patient in the long-run. And the best course of action can often actually be a compromise between the two opinions.