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From the Scalpel to the Pen » Page 'Getting The Ultimate Second Opinion '

Getting The Ultimate Second Opinion

Every week I receive calls from patients desperate to find a second opinion. They’ve been told there’s nothing to do. Or there’s only one thing to do. Whatever they have heard, they are not getting a comprehensive picture. They are not getting the ultimate consultation and second opinion.

Every patient with a serious health issue deserves to have a panel of expert sub-specialists. It’s like having a case debated in front of a jury. All the arguments are put forward. The evidence is looked at from every angle. Every doubt must be raised. Every conclusion questioned.

photo courtesy National Cancer Institute, Bill Branson

photo courtesy National Cancer Institute, Bill Branson

So what should a patient or family do? Gather up the basics of your file. All the notes and tests from your doctor. Have the Radiology Department make a copy of all your pertinent scans and x-rays on a CD-Rom. Get on the Internet. Find the best physicians, surgeons, and hospitals in the country. The best docs are listed every year in “Best Doctors in America.” Local or regional magazines publish a special issue featuring the chosen doctors each year. (There are higher advertising revenues from medical practitioners for that issue). Likewise, look up the nation’s Top One Hundred Hospitals released every year by U.S. News and World Reports. Look for the hospital listed that is in your vicinity. Then look up the appropriate specialties.

Say you have a breast cancer. Find the best cancer center. The best oncologist. The best radiation therapist. The best breast surgeon. Call their offices. Let them know you’re sending your case in for a review. Make a real connection to someone in the office. Remember it’s the “little folks” who really run the world. The secretaries, receptionists, and the patient care technicians. Every one of them—any one of them–can hold the key. Treat them as the most important people in your life because they may well be. Put your entire case onto a single CD-ROM. Package it up. Say a prayer and ship it out. Then follow up. Call in a few days. E-mail. Send faxes. Just pursue. It’s your life, or that of someone you love, that may be on the line.

American’s health plans should encourage you to seek the ultimate second opinion, the one you deserve.

More Resources for Finding the Best:

Thomson Rueters Top Hospitals

Castle Connolly Medical “America’s Top Doctors” listing top doctors and hospitals in the country

Women’s Health Magazine America’s Top Doctors For Women
See our list of the top M.D.s in the country… in the specialties most crucial to you.

Men’s Health magazine America’s Top Doctors for Men

National Cancer Institute
How To Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility If You Have Cancer

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