Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Should I take a second opinion ?

Why should I take a second opinion? after all isn't there a definitive treatment for a disease? If two doctors have different opinions does that mean that one of them is wrong? If he is wrong should I report him?

The problem is that medicine is not an exact science. Two doctors may have completely different opinions and still they may both be correct !

Many factors influence a doctors decision

  • His education and training. There are bound to some differences in the training of the thousands of medical colleges. Add to this the huge amount of new stuff coming in everyday. Obviously the more well read and up to date a doctor is, the better his decision is going to be.
  • His experience. Experience adds to knowledge like color to a painting. Change the colors and the picture is different. A particular treatment will fall into disfavour with a doctor because of a bad experience he has had.
  • His teacher. A doctor is likely to treat a patient like his teacher would have. This is because he is familiar with the treatment methods and has seen them work.
  • His personality. An aggressive personality is more likely to offer surgery than a more fearful one. Of course many surgeons would not agree with me on this one.
  • The degree of specialisation. A specialist tackles a particular disorder much much more than the non specialist. So A specialist is more likely to have better judgement.

So it is easy for doctors to have different opinions. In today's practice it is essential to take a second opinion. This ensures you get the best that medicine has to offer. A second doctor supporting the opinion of your own, increases your confidence.

The problem arises when opinions differ, then what do you do? in that case

  • You can take a third opinion, but make sure it is from a really good specialist in the field and then do as he says or
  • You can do a little studying of your own. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of a particular treatment method, see what is important to you and make your decision.

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