All doctors think alike.
Every doctor is just as qualified as the next.
Any doctor would tell you the same thing as any other.
Do you believe these statements?
I can assure you that they are definitely not true.
Although there are standards that every health care professional must meet to obtain licensure, there can be a vast difference between the quality, training, skills and attitudes.
This is true of all kinds of doctors including chiropractors, dentists, medical specialists, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists and others.
Other health care professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, and others all fit somewhere on a spectrum from the highest level of qualifications to the least.
Thankfully, most Rutherford County health care professionals are motivated to be the best they can be.
Most take pride in their level of care and are doing what they do as a result of choosing to serve others through their work.
This commitment to caring creates a generally high level of qualifications among all health professions.
But what if you are facing a difficult health care decision and are not sure that you have received the best advice. Have you ever received recommendations for treatment or testing and wondered if there were alternatives that you were not being advised about?
It may be time for you to seek a second opinion.
Although for most routine care a competent care giver is going to make the right recommendations and you can feel confident in your treatment, for some circumstances it may be very wise to ask for a second opinion.
Examples of when a second opinion may be important would be when facing surgery, expensive treatment, or when your diagnosis is not clear. Not all doctors will have the same recommendations when faced with the same set of circumstances.
Recently, concerns have been raised about whether most surgeries performed in the United States are necessary.
Interestingly, in various parts of the country, surgery rates vary widely for the same diagnosis. Why would a surgery be more common in Arizona than it is in Vermont?
Tennessee has the undesirable position of being No. 1 in the use of prescription drugs in the country. Why are Tennesseans using so many prescription drugs compared to other states?
Medical practices can vary widely from region to region and from practice to practice.
Some doctors work more closely with patients to find non-drug solutions for problems, whereas some are more prone to simply reach for the prescription pad. Others are more likely to order more sophisticated and expensive laboratory tests and imaging than others.
In some cases, this could be the result of veteran doctors relying on their experience with similar cases versus newer doctors being unsure of their diagnosis and wanting to obtain confirmation. Or it could be that newer doctors may be more familiar with advanced testing possibilities. There could be many other explanations for a variance in diagnostic rationales.
Your health is important and you should feel comfortable with decisions that are made regarding diagnosis or treatment.
If you have concern that there may be alternatives to what has been recommended, you should consider seeking a second opinion.
How do you go about getting that opinion?
The simplest way may be to simply pick up the phone and call a different office.
When asked about the purpose of your visit, simply tell them that you would like a second opinion regarding your condition. Seeking a second or sometimes even a third opinion is common when faced with difficult, confusing, or expensive treatment options.
You may even consider seeing a different type of specialist or provider.
For example, neck and back pain will be treated differently by medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, massage therapists, pain specialists, and other types of providers.
If you are hesitant to proceed with a specific treatment or are unsure about a diagnosis or test, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for another opinion from a different health care provider.
You may be surprised by what you learn.