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4 signs that you should seek a second medical opinion

December 09, 2014

The medical field is increasingly complex, and time pressures and advanced technology result in a process that prevents the hands-on approach physicians used to prefer. Misdiagnosis may affect as many as 20 percent of cases. When individuals in Illinois experience pain or other troubling symptoms, it is often tempting to turn responsibility for care to medical professionals unquestioningly, in spite of the studies and statistics indicating that this is not the safest option. Patients should never feel reluctant to seek a second opinion, and many doctors and insurance companies encourage or require them.

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Second opinions provide other potential options

A large percentage of doctor appointments result in minor issues that are easily resolved. However, to prevent doctor errors, a second opinion may be particularly important under conditions such as the following:

  • Dialogue or interaction with the health care provider feels uncomfortable or rushed
  • Prescribed medication includes many potential side effects
  • The diagnosis is complex and includes many factors
  • A recommended procedure has a risk of death, stroke or severe infection

Asking doctors, family members or friends for referrals is often the best way to choose a health care provider. When a second medical opinion corroborates the first, it provides more confidence in following through with the recommended procedure or treatment plan. It may also bring to light a similar but less expensive or invasive option.

Doctor errors are often preventable

According to a recent study published by the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, each year around 12 million adults in the United States are misdiagnosed when they seek outpatient medical care. This is equal to about 5 percent of yearly outpatient appointments. Between 40,000 and 80,000 deaths in the United States each year occur due to a missed, delayed or incorrect diagnosis, according to some studies. Approximately 6 million of these cases involve health problems that can lead to serious complications if not resolved in a timely manner.

There is not a way to track the wrong diagnoses because frequently the health care providers are unaware of their mistakes. The errors may never be brought to light, especially in the cases where the discovery of the health problem is delayed. Most incorrect diagnoses do not lead to legal actions due to the statute of limitations on malpractice cases. Medical malpractice lawyer in chicago encourage patients to seek a second medical opinion to prevent misdiagnoses. Legal help is available for those who suffer prolonged illness or treatment because of medical mistakes.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.