Big Operation? Ask for a Second Opinion

A national study conducted by the Mayo Clinic finds patients who seek a second opinion get a differing diagnosis nearly 90% of the time. However, two Houston doctors point out the statistic is misleading, because the second opinion rarely changed things completely.

Dr. Richard Harris, an internal medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold, says he will often text a colleague, seeking a second opinion even when the patient doesn't ask.

“(I’ll say) Hey, I have this person with X-Y-Z,” Harris says. “This is what I think it is. What do you think?”

Dr. Harris says taking that step can be a good idea.

“It's always good to get a second set of eyes, a second set of hands on the patient,” he says, “to see if they agree with your diagnosis.”

Dr. Grant Fowler at the U-T Health Science Center and McGovern Medical School concurs.

“If you've got major surgery coming up,” Dr. Fowler says, “that's probably not a bad idea, you know, heart surgery.”

Both physicians say they are not offended by the request.

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