Getting a Second Medical Opinion

Doctor talking to patient at desk

For your heart’s sake, get a second opinion

When your health care professional recommends a medication or procedure, whether for a cardiovascular condition or not, you almost certainly have questions and concerns — or even fears.

All of these reactions are normal. But it doesn’t mean you need to accept everything you just heard at face value. Your next step should be to get a second opinion. You should not hesitate to get a second opinion for fear of offending your health care professional. Many medical professionals encourage second and even third opinions, especially when it involves a major operation such as heart valve replacement.

Why seek a second opinion?

Perhaps you’re not feeling confident about your health care professional’s decisions. Maybe you’re feeling rushed. Other reasons to get a second opinion include:

  • Your insurance company may require it before covering your treatment.
  • You may have options — including not needing the medicine or procedure, or one being less expensive than another.
  • You’re concerned about the risk or how it might affect your lifestyle, family or work.

How do I seek a second opinion?

To obtain a second or third opinion try some of these ideas to find a new health care professional: 

  • Ask family or friends who’ve been treated with the same condition.
  • Get a list of approved health care professionals from your insurance company or your employer’s health plan administrator.
  • Contact your local medical society.
  • Search other professional directories that are available online.

What do I do to seek a second opinion?

Before you visit a second health care professional, have your records forwarded to them. Better yet, get a full set and bring them with you.

Also, be sure to come with specific questions or concerns. The more specific your questions, the more focused your meeting and the better the second opinion will be.

Bring a pad and pen with you to write down important things, and consider having someone come with you listen and help take notes.

And if the opinions differ …

Go with the best assessment. A good rule of thumb is: Select the plan that makes the most sense, involves the least risk and focuses on the medical issues that are most important to you.