In San Diego patients rely on their doctors to be an authority in their specialty. This is why we seek out a dentist for a toothache, a cardiologist for heart problems, and an orthopedic surgeon for knee and shoulder pain. While it important for the doctor-patient relationship to establish trust, it is also in the patient’s best interest to be proactive about their medical care. This includes asking questions, making sure options, care, billing, and procedures are understood, and seeking out second opinions.
Many people are hesitant to seek second opinions for fear they will insult their doctor, when, in fact, most doctors will welcome another opinion from a medical professional. In fact, it garners a better understanding of the problem at hand and potential treatment options. A doctor who is threatened by this notion ought be viewed with skepticism. Doctors are not infallible and it is possible for misinterpretation or misunderstandings to develop. Doctors also have different opinions on treatments, procedures, and diagnostics, and having more options open for a patient is better than being limited to one.
Second opinions can be sought out at any time there is a need, but is often done when a patient is not satisfied with the care their doctor has been providing thus far, or has a diagnosis they feel may be problematic. Other patients will look for a second opinion if they are not getting answers to their questions, or are confused about their options.
Many physicians will suggest a patient receive a second opinion for a diagnosis if they feel they have exhausted their knowledge or abilities. The next step is usually a specialist for treatment. Because insurance often requires a family doctor to recommend further treatment, by the time a patient sees a specialist, it may be the second, third, or even fourth opinion.
It is important for a patient to be honest with their doctor when seeking a second opinion. Ask your doctor for lab results, x-rays, diagnostics, and records to take to the next physician so he, too, is armed with as much knowledge as possible to help diagnose the issue. Find out what questions to ask, what to highlight, and how to efficiently explain the issue. You can always ask your doctor who he recommends, but keep in mind that the suggestion often leads to a doctor with similar techniques, traits, and training. If these are issues that you have with your doctor, it would be advisable to seek a second physician on your own.
If seeking a second opinion for an orthopedic surgeon for joint problems, such as knee or shoulder pain or arthritis, bear in mind that orthopedists have different opinions on treatments, too. One doctor may want to “wait out” problems and do simpler treatments, such as ice, and OTC pain medications, another may be more aggressive with treatment. Regardless, a patient should continue with the doctor and the treatment with which they are most comfortable.
Second opinions often have good results in that they will actually confirm the initial diagnosis, rather than taking the patient down a completely different path of treatment. This leads to peace of mind on the parts of both patient and doctor.
Contact us at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego to schedule a second opinion with an orthopedic specialist who is internationally recognized and can garner your confidence.