Why you deserve a second opinion

Your doctor says, “It looks like you may be diabetic.”
Or, “Hmm… your cholesterol is on the high side.”
Perhaps it’s even a spine-tingling, “Wow, I’ve never seen this before!” And immediately, your blood runs cold and you go into panic/stress mode, convinced you’re already in the grips of death android url 이미지.

Doctors and medical experts, by virtue of their extensive training, and the critical nature of their work – are meant to deliver accurate diagnosis and treatments. After all, they are the experts. But, human error is a real concept, along with faulty machinery and diagnostic errors.

In fact, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US found that diagnostic errors accounted for more penalty payouts and malpractice claims than any other medical insurance claims. Researchers say, “This is more evidence that diagnostic errors could easily be the biggest patient safety and medical malpractice problem in America.”

The numbers are getting scarier. Healthcare policy experts at the Mayo Clinic found similar results over a two-year period of analysing patient records. They found that when patients sourced a second opinion, the original diagnosis was confirmed just 12% of the time!

The British Medical Journal in 2013 estimated that up to 15% of all overall diagnoses are incorrect. In South Africa too, malpractice suits are piling up.

Convinced yet?

Think about it this way. When you’re looking for a home, you don’t snap up the first one you see. When you’re car shopping, you test drive more than one vehicle. If you suspect you’re not physically well, why wouldn’t you want that checked out by more than one expert? It’s worth noting that in the best case scenario, an incorrect diagnosis could end up being nothing more than a little emotional strain.

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On the other end of the spectrum however, do you want an incorrect medical opinion to land you on the surgery table for an unnecessary, potentially life-threatening op? Sounds dramatic, but 2016 research by Pinnacle Healthcare in America estimates that patient deaths due to misdiagnosis are between 40-80 000 a year.

Now, we’re not saying you need to stretch your medical aid or break the bank each time you get a runny nose – but for something that feels serious– it’s definitely worth getting more than one opinion.

Remember, a consultation is a two-way process where the doctor is guided by a physical examination and the information he gleans from you before a treatment plan is formulated. If there’s poor communication from either side, you could land up with a problem. This makes two opinions better than one!

At the very least you’ll have peace of mind – and isn’t that priceless?

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