Give Me A Second: Why Opinion #2 Could Save Your Life

02-21-2012
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There are few professionals in whom we put more trust than doctors. Yes, they’re highly trained. But does that mean we should never question their opinion? Mounting evidence suggests that the old truism applies to the medical field as much as anything else: Two heads are better than one. Second medical opinions, the evidence shows, can lead to significant changes in patients’ diagnoses and treatment recommendations.

The first doctor you consult about symptoms might misdiagnose the cause for any number of reasons: They might misinterpret slides or scans. They might not use the latest tests or technology. They might fixate on one possible diagnosis, amassing evidence to support their conclusion and disregarding evidence that doesn’t.  

Getting a second opinion lowers the risk of misdiagnosis—particularly when it comes to radiology images and pathology slides from biopsies. Some malignancies, such as lymphomas and rare cancers of the thyroid and salivary glands, are well-known head-scratchers for doctors; test results for these conditions can be inconclusive or return false results.

One recent study published in Cancer Cytopathology found that doctors changed their diagnoses on 9 percent of 742 cancer cases; the diagnoses of 16 percent of thyroid cancers, 11 percent of salivary-gland cancers and 10 percent of neck cancers were changed on second opinion. In another study, from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, of patients in the study who had been misdiagnosed, 16 percent in fact had cancer.  

Have you been harmed by a misdiagnosis? Contact Hodes Milman Liebeck for a free case evaluation. We’re aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers based in Orange County, serving all of California. We have the experience to take on the medical industry and have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.

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