My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said "Okay, you're ugly too."
-Rodney Dangerfield

From Beliefnet columnist Bill Webber:

Don’t think twice about getting a second opinion. After all, this is what you do in the rest of your life. You don’t buy the first house a real estate agent shows you, or drive off in the first automobile that a car salesman shows you. You shop until you find the clothes that are what you need.

Decisions about your health are even more vital. It can be important to ask for a second opinion. But only 20 percent of people who go to a doctor ever get a second opinion. How important is it? Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author of You, the Smart Patient, writes that getting a second opinion results in a new diagnosis in 30 percent of all cases. That’s a lot of cases!

There are three possibilities when you get a second opinion. First, if the consulting doctor agrees with your physician, you feel great and more confident in going forward. Sometimes the verdict may be that the two doctors agree on some things but differ on some things. Good! That gives you a chance to ask them why they differ, and what choices you should make. And lastly the second opinion my be completely different. Wouldn’t you really like to know that? It gives you the opportunity to discuss your treatment with both doctors and make an informed choice.

Dr. Roizen points out that “in the last two cases, you’ve given your doctor a free opportunity to learn something, without him having to fly to Salt Lake City to sit through a conference. Your health insurance may require it in many circumstances, but even if not, your doctor most assuredly expects you to do so. And your doctor should thank you for it.”

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