Second Opinions

These days, there are numerous options to treat every condition that ails us. First and foremost, an accurate diagnosis must be reached. Next the available treatment options must be discussed. Finally a treating physician must be selected to carry out the treatment.

As patients, we may have a physician we trust to work-up our problem, and we may trust that physician to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. That depends on our relationship with that physician, and our personal approach to our body and its disorders.

There are occasions when a second opinion is a good idea. The main reason would be to put our mind at ease that we are dealing with the correct diagnosis and best course of treatment. Our initial consultant should not mind that we are going to someone else for a second opinion. The Doctors at the Pennsylvania Hand Center see many patients for a second opinion.

Of course, we should keep in mind that there is no reason why the second opinion would be any better than the first one! In fact, it could be worse. The second consultant may not be as skilled as the first one, or may not know our particular condition as well as the first one.

With all that kept in mind, we need to decide which opinion to trust. We need to be sure that our judgement is not clouded by “wishful thinking.” A second opinion should not tell us what we want to hear, but should offer an unbiased and objective opinion.

Bottom line is that we need to establish a relationship with a physician, and not be shy about asking all the clarifications that we need to make an informed decision. Medicine may be a science, but a good portion of it remains an art: the art of applying that science to a particular situation.