The Search For The ‘Right’ Doctor
When a patient seeks a second opinion, it can be driven by a need for clarity around a diagnosis or treatment advice — or it can be part of a search for a doctor who ‘fits.’
I had already been given a head’s up about my next patient by one of our schedulers. The notes next to her name in the electronic medical record read, “New consult, switching care, patient preference. Do not cancel any other appointments until this one is completed.”
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I never discourage my own patients from seeking the opinions of others, as their conditions are unusual and serious, and frequently deserve advice from more than one doctor.
Second opinions are a normal part of my line of work. I specialize in rare diseases affecting the bone marrow, and feel privileged both to practice at a hospital where I can focus on these esoteric illnesses, and to be considered competent enough at what I do that people seek my input on their diagnoses and therapies.
At the same time, I never discourage my own patients from seeking the opinions of others, as their conditions are unusual and serious, and frequently deserve advice from more than one doctor. It’s what I would ask for if one of my own family members became sick.
But that wasn’t exactly why this woman was seeing me. She had arranged this appointment because she didn’t like her other doctor, and wanted to see if she liked me better.