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A second opinion from a doctor might be life-saving

Recent research shows that getting a second opinion from a doctor can save your life. A Mayo Clinic study found that almost 88% of patients who got a second opinion went home with a new or improved diagnosis, while 12% receive confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct.

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“Knowing that more than 1 out of every 5 referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling — not only because of the safety risks for these patients prior to correct diagnosis, but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all,” lead researcher James Naessens, Sc.D., a health care policy researcher at Mayo Clinic, said in a statement.

According to CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus, “if there’s a disorder that you have that is not getting better or is very serious, you want a second opinion”. He argues that in some cases, a third opinion is needed.

The researchers observed 286 patients’ records for the study. They estimated the cost of getting a second opinion to thousands of dollars more when the diagnosis changed. Still, they mentioned that the cost is worth it in the long run.

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Experts advise patients to not feel intimidated by getting a second opinion or worry about offending their doctor.

Daisy Wilder