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Do you have all your cards on the table?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In my work I believe the most important job I have is to help patients and caregivers make sure they have all their cards on the table. What do I mean you ask.....

Do you know what all your options are and have you had a second opinion?

The very most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is make sure you have had a second opinion. As patients we sometimes are afraid to tell our doctor we want a second opinion for fear of them getting made or offended.HOGWASH!! (that's okie talk for BULL) if they get mad or get offended, move on! Find another doctor. There is no reason they should get offended or me they are getting second opinions if it has something to do with them or their loved one. If they won't help you get a second opinion you have one option, get copies of your medical records, cat scans, MRI's, pathology reports, surgery reports, doctors notes, etc. and contact the institutions you would like to review your case and send them copies of your records. Sometimes, you may have to pay for this but most of the time you will not have to pay. Hospitals must give you a copy of your medical records one time for free, if you ask again they may charge you.

Why is this important? It is impossible for doctors to stay up to date with every clinical trial, research, or treatment option that is available. Not every hospital may have the tools, equipment or ability to offer you some of the latest and best diagnostic services, surgical tools or clinical trials available. I always said I wanted a consensus of opinion on what direction we should take....I wanted 3 or 4 doctors to tell me that was what I should do concerning care for my child. 

A second opinion is imperative for making sure you have all the cards on the table and you know what all your options are. At the end of the day make sure you can feel confident that made the best decisions with the information and resources you have available.
Posted by Nancy Thomason 

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