Getting a second opinion used to be standard for any type of surgery. Today, it is common for patients to be reluctant to challenge a doctor’s recommendations. As medical and surgical treatments have advanced, many patients believe that their doctor is current on all drug interactions, all surgical procedures, and that they are monitoring their patient’s progress without distraction, so no second opinion is needed. While idealistic, this isn’t always the case.
TWO SIDES OF THE SAME PROBLEM
There are two very distinct sides to why women may be hesitant to ask for a second opinion.
Relationships with a doctor can form over a period of time, creating loyalty or comfort.
- Established trust with one medical professional can build loyalty, deterring patients from seeking additional counsel.
- After disclosing some of the most intimate details of your body with one professional, the idea of going through that all over again with someone else may not be appealing.
Loss of faith in medical treatment can erode trust in all medical professionals.
- When women suffer with failed procedures time and time again, they can often give up hope that there is a solution.
- In some cases, like with endometriosis, getting the wrong treatment can actually make the condition worsen over time.
- Where trust once may have been high, it can come crashing down.
THE DILEMMA: THE MARKETING OF MEDICINE
As practiced and skilled as many physicians are in their fields, there is actually more need now than ever before for patients to request a second opinion from advanced-trained minimally invasive GYN specialists. Robotic tools have saturated the medical industry at a rapid pace. The huge investment in these machines has encouraged many general practitioners to perform surgeries for which they do not have advanced training. Tools are not a replacement for skill or training. Women undergoing robotic procedures can come away with injuries to the ureter, bowel or blood vessels that can require other specialists to repair the damage. Patients then have more pain, longer recovery and higher costs.
SECOND OPINION: GET THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS EARLY FROM A SPECIALIST
The most critical aspect of getting the right treatment for a gynecological condition is getting an accurate diagnosis as early as possible and finding the best GYN specialist. Fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, infertility and other GYN conditions deserve specialist care. Your doctor should encourage collaboration with specialists, and specialists will partner with your primary doctor. Most patients who finally get relief after multiple unsuccessful attempts by non-specialists lament that they wished they had seen a specialist right away, rather than wasting time in pain, or away from work.
Get to know more about Dr. Paul MacKoul MD.