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|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
Many people feel uncomfortable questioning the expertise of their doctor, particularly if they have been going to them for a long time. However, seeking a second or third opinion on your diagnosis is not only acceptable; many times it is a necessity.
Doctors differ in the training they have received, their specialty and where they practice. Major studies have discovered that doctors provide the best available, evidenced-backed care only half the time.
A 10 year project conducted by Dartmouth University found that significant differences in treatment exist between different regions of the country.
Additionally, a Johns Hopkins study looked at 6000 cancer patients who had sought a second opinion after a tumor biopsy. The study found that 2 out of every 100 patients had received a wrong diagnosis.
Looking for a second, or even third or fourth opinion is not just about avoiding a wrong diagnosis. It is also important in that it helps you decide on a course of treatment that best fits your lifestyle and preferences.
When you have a large, life altering decision to make, it is important to gain the most knowledge possible about the procedure. The single best way to do that is by consulting with various experts.
Doing a little research on your own before meeting with your doctor can help you gain confidence and ask good relevant questions. Be careful of over researching every little ailment however. With so much medical information readily available on the internet it is easy to get paranoid about the smallest aches and pains.
Simply gain enough basic knowledge to ask the right questions and then you can judge various doctors opinions against one another. One of the most important things you can do to ensure you find the treatment that is best for you is to not be afraid to ask your doctor for a recommendation to another specialist.
It may seem a little awkward but make it clear to the doctor that you are not questioning their expertise, but you simply want to seek additional information about the diagnosis and get the most information possible before moving forward.
In short, doctors are humans too and therefore capable of making mistakes. Getting additional medical opinions is the best way to ensure that you are not the victim of human error.
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