How many dealers did you visit before you last bought a car?
Were you happy with the first quote you got for a painting job or kitchen renovation?
When it comes to your finances, your house, clothes and jewellery, it makes sense to do your research, shop around and make sure you’re getting the best advice.
This common sense and smartness are mostly missing when it comes to our/family health conditions which require a 2nd opinion.
Today I will be sharing all my personal experiences were 2nd opinion could have helped or in fact did help. This is especially important when the diagnosis is life-threatening.
My Father in law was diagnosed with heart disease in the year 2000. We did angiography at one of the renowned hospitals in the south Mumbai. After the angiography, the cardiologist came out of the diagnosis chamber and informed that all the three arteries were blocked more than 90%. Bypass surgery was must and urgent.
He was ‘courteous’. He suggested he could help in getting an appointment of an otherwise busy (but unknown) cardiac surgeon. Without taking my father in law back home they wanted to get him operated then and there in the next couple of days.
Fortunately, our family doctor accompanied us and he advised us against the need for immediate surgery. He advised us to take a discharge.
We took the 2nd opinion after few days, bypass surgery was required. We choose the finest doctor of our choice and he was operated by Dr. Ramakanta Panda. He was with Lilavati Hospital then, AHI was not in existence. Today after almost 18 years after the bypass surgery, he has no heart problem.
The point is not whether Dr. Panda or someone else, the point is doctors mostly won’t give the family the time to think in a scary situation. We had our family doctor with us who saved us from rushing to a hurried decision without evaluating all the options.
A friend of my father in law during the similar time also diagnosed with the heart diseases. He was also advised bypass surgery. He was not comfortable with the surgery and opted for ayurvedic and naturopathy options. Today after 18 years he has survived and lived a good life.
This may not be the case for everyone and we need not ignore the advice but this is also a reality.
Times of India in 2015 reported, Almost 44% of the 12,500 patients for whom surgery was recommended were advised against it by their second opinion consultants.
Now, this is important. My sister in law was diagnosed with cervical cancer. They took 1st opinion from a Gynaecology doctor Mr. X, practicing in a leading South Mumbai hospital Y.
The patient was advised surgery and the doctor X did the surgery. She also took radiation and Chemo etc whatever was necessary.
After the surgery, cancer repulsed after 10 months. We consulted Oncologist. (This should have been done at the beginning). He indicated the surgery should have been done by an Oncologist or an oncologist should have remained present during the surgery. Even though it is a Gynac related issue, the cancer surgery needs Onco-surgeon on board.
The patient succumbed to the disease 8 months after the relapse.
This is the reason why I am writing this post. Yesterday, I got to know that one of my acquaintances was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The same Dr. X operated her and in the same Y hospital. When the malignancy report came positive, the doctor operated the patient within 38 hours. He didn’t give the time to think to the family who obviously was nervous about the medical condition of their loved one.
Now the importance of the 2nd opinion: After the surgery, they met the Oncologist for further treatment. The oncologist opined (after reviewing the reports) that in the 2nd stage of cervical cancer they do not recommend the surgery.
Imagine the plight of the family. Every case is different and each one’s fate is different. The relapse may not happen at all. But the 2nd opinion taken in advance before the treatment could have helped a lot.
I would like to end on a positive note. Our uncle was diagnosed with severe heart disease of Aorta. This is a serious health condition. All the doctors they had consulted advised surgery. Surgery was very critical. They decided to consult one of the leading heart surgeons in Bangalore. The doctor is known for his technical competency and ethical standards.
The family prepared for the surgery and traveled from Mangalore to Bangalore. Nearby relatives had also joined. Since morning we were waiting for the doctors to see our reports, the doctor met the patient in the evening. After reviewing the reports, he advised against the surgery. Immediate surgery was not required. Everyone returned back home. This is how 2nd opinion and good doctor helps.
Surgery did happen but after the three years.
In their article, Five situations when second opinions matter most, Pinnacle care writes;
A second opinion can be one of the most valuable tools you have to ensure that you’re getting the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Mis-diagnosis is more common than most people realize. One study found that delayed, missed and incorrect diagnoses occur in 10 to 20 percent of cases.
They suggest five conditions when 2nd opinion is necessary;
- You receive a cancer diagnosis
- Your doctor recommends surgery
- The diagnosis or course of treatment is not clear.
- Your current treatment is not working
- You’ve been diagnosed with a rare disease or condition
No one can change the destiny. But taking the well thought out decision matters when it’s a matter of life and death of our loved ones.
- Don’t panic on hearing severe medical condition.
- Keep your patience.
- Keep someone, whom you can trust, with you who can advise you objectively.
In the meantime, keep fit and focus on fitness – regular exercise and nutrition rich diet.
Liked the post? Subscribe the Blog for regular updates in your inbox.