Is your physician recommending a big operation, chemotherapy or an invasive test? Are you not getting well as quickly as you think you should? Does your doctor seem stymied by what's going on with your illness? These are common situations where patients begin thinking about seeking another medical opinion.The three scenarios noted above are what I call "crises of confidence." They engender uncomfortable thoughts of "does the doctor really know what she/he is doing?" "Isn't there an easier, less aggressive way to approach the problem?" These are very unpleasant feelings for patients and are an excellent reason to seek another physician's opinion in an attempt to clarify the unknowns.Certainly, the most fearful part of asking your doctor for a second opinion is how that request will effect your doctor-patient relationship. "Will she be mad at me?" "Will he refuse to see me in the future?" Most of the time, physicians are quite open to requests for a second opinion.Be open and honest with your doctor about your feelings and needs. When it is all said and done, you want to have a solid ongoing relationship with your physician. Frequently, your physician can help you select the "right" second opinion doctor for you. Having your physician involved with a second opinion also ensures that a summary of your care accompanies you to avoid repeating X-rays and lab tests unnecessarily.Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.
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