According to a recent poll, almost three quarters of Americans are so deferential to their doctors that they never get a second opinion when surgery or other treatment is recommended. This is a startling figure when you consider the proliferation of websites that consumers access before making a decision to buy something or eat somewhere. The problem is particularly acute among older patients who tend to be hesitant to question authority and were brought up to believe that the doctor is always right.
A second opinion is not only common sense – it is a right, a right that most insurers will pay for. Insurers are well aware that errors in diagnosis, or outright misdiagnosis, are all too common. They are also aware that doctors are rewarded financially for doing procedures rather than prescribing medicine.
When your doctor recommends surgery, or other procedures, take a minute to think. If you have doubts, express them. If you have questions, ask them. If it’s not an emergency, go home and talk to family members. Go on line and do some research. Be skeptical-doctors are not infallible. After all, the life you save may be your own.