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Getting a second opinion can save patients’ lives

With all the wonders of modern technology in the medical field, misdiagnosis is still more common than most people think. These misdiagnoses are costly and may end up doing more harm than good for those who must treat a condition they do not have.

For someone who is not getting better after following a doctor’s advice, a second opinion may very well save his or her life.

How common is a misdiagnosis?

According to the Washington Post, over 20% of people seeking a second opinion for a current diagnosis receive information contradicting that of their primary care physician. In fact, 88% of people exploring a second opinion had a diagnosis that was either incomplete or incorrect.

These statistics tell patients something very frightening: that doctors may be wrong quite often.

What are the effects of a misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis can be harmful in many ways. Not only does the incorrect diagnosis waste precious time by treating a condition that the patient does not have, but the treatment itself can harm the patient instead of helping him or her. In some cases, treating the incorrect condition may prove fatal for the patient. In fact, Healthline.com states that over 40,000 patients each year lose their lives due to a misdiagnosis.

When should a patient seek a second opinion?

If there is no improvement after following a doctor’s advice, or the condition worsens, it is probably time to get a second opinion. Patients do not have to wait to do this, even if their doctor tells them that they should. In most cases, time is of the essence and waiting to seek a second opinion may result in further damages.