Second Opinions - Necessary or Not?
By David McKalip, M.D
ST. PETERSBURG - For some men, asking for a second opinion on a medical diagnosis is like asking for directions - it just doesn't happen. But how important is that second opinion? For some medical insurance companies, second opinions are so important - they are required before treatment.
So are these sometimes stubborn men onto something, or are second opinions as valuable as our insurance companies make them seem? Neurosurgeon David McKalip, M.D. clears up the inconsistency. "Second opinions are important for a number of reasons. If you, as a patient, do not feel as though your doctor is comprehensively addressing your questions or concerns, seek out another physician. If you feel uncomfortable with your diagnosis or suggested treatment, find a doctor who will listen and understand your apprehension with the previous recommendation." If you are spending more time with a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant rather than with your doctor, McKalip recommends considering a second opinion.
How Can You Obtain a Second Opinion?
"Treatment shouldn't be delayed under any circumstances if the patient's condition is life-threatening. If immediate action is not necessary, then start looking into other options," says McKalip. Here a few points to keep in mind if you decide to pursue a second diagnosis:
What Should You Look For in a Surgeon?
"It all comes down to comfort," says McKalip. "If the treatment for your condition involves surgery, you're trusting this person with your life - make sure they're the right doctor for you! Don't hesitate to ask any questions about your diagnosis or their qualifications." The American College of Surgeons agrees with inquiring about any medical professional's accreditation. McKalip also advises asking your physician some additional key questions before any operation:
With any medical decision-making, knowledge is indispensable. Your questions should reflect your understanding of what's going on in your body. "You want a physician who is professional, but sees each patient as a person, not just a medical case. That personal trust is very important. If, for whatever reason, you don't trust your surgeon, then it's time to move on to a second opinion," says McKalip.
When is comes to medical opinions, it looks like more is better. Second opinions may not be necessary, but you should know enough to make a well-educated decision - even if that means "shopping around" for more options.
Each person's circumstances are unique- Visit the website of an accredited institution for more information about your condition.
About Dr. McKalip: David McKalip, M.D. is a Board-Certified Neurological Surgeon of the brain and spine. He has served as the President of the Florida Neurosurgical Society and on the Quality Improvement Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and currently serves on the board of the Florida Medical Association. His practice is located at 1201 5th Avenue North, Suite 210 in St. Petersburg, FL. For more information about Dr. McKalip, contact him at (727) 822-3500 or visit www.mckalip.yourmd.com
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