Dr. Campbell: Getting a second opinion could save your life

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A new study from the Mayo clinic suggests that getting a second opinion about a medical diagnosis can actually prevent unnecessary treatments.

The second opinion could actually save your life and new data suggests that 1 out of 5 patients who get a second opinion were incorrectly diagnosed.

In the latest study, the researchers examined the records of 286 patients referred from primary care providers to Mayo Clinic’s General Internal Medicine Division from 2009 to 2010. The study found that as many as 88 percent of patients seeking a second opinion go home with a new or refined diagnosis.

Twenty-one percent received a “distinctly different” diagnosis. Shockingly, only 12 percent of patients receive confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct.

Why is getting a second opinion so important?

This study shows that second opinions can improve the chances of getting the right diagnosis. Second opinions may lead to better, more effective treatments and can help avoid unnecessary treatments.

If you feel that you are not getting any better or if your treatment is ineffective or you are experiencing more side effects than positive effects, it may be time to ask for a second opinion.

Where should you go for a second opinion if you feel it is needed?

I would recommend going to an academic medical center for a second opinion. Academic medical centers like Duke in our area tend to have more highly specialized physicians and often conduct cutting-edge research.

Don’t feel intimidated about asking for a second opinion.

Most good doctors want you to feel comfortable with their treatment plans.

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