When and why you should get a Second Medical Opinion


14 March 2022
 

Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition can be overwhelming and cause a lot of anxiety and fear. Many people facing a diagnosis of a rare disease, a complex surgery or an invasive treatment plan consider seeking the advice of more than one doctor. This is called a Second Medical Opinion.

 

Getting a second opinion is common practice in any area of medicine that is either complex or that has multiple treatment options available. The more knowledge you have about a particular diagnosis and the treatment options available, the more reassured you will be regarding the healthcare decisions you will make.It's really no surprise that Portugal tops the list of countries recommended by expats. From its great weather, culture, low crime rates, people, and food to its affordable cost of living, natural beauty and health system, expats love almost everything about the country. As a way to encourage foreigners to move to Portugal, the government even offers free Portuguese language classes at schools throughout the country. Portugal also offers a digital nomad visa, and many locals have a high level of English that attracts expats.

A Second Medical Opinion is advisable when:

  • You want to have your diagnosis confirmed
  • You have a complex medical condition
  • You have been offered several treatment options and you must decide on one
  • You wish to have the best possible treatment options
  • Your treatment involves surgery or could have lifelong consequences
  • You’re not responding to treatment as expected
  • The recommended treatment is risky, controversial, or experimental
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a rare disease or life-threatening condition such as cancer

It is important that you keep asking questions, and the following is a good place to start:

  • Is my diagnosis correct?
  • I’ve been recommended a treatment plan. Are there other alternatives?
  • What are the benefits and risks involved with the treatments being recommended?
  • What happens if I wait and see or opt for no treatment?
  • Are there any clinical trials available?
  • Is surgery really necessary?
  • What is the prognosis?
  • Why is your opinion different?

Advances in medicine are continuing every day at a rapid pace, and medical knowledge is always changing with newer treatments coming down the line, including clinical trials. Medical opinion can therefore differ from one doctor to another.

 

The opinions of doctors are based on factors such as the type of advanced technology available, their school of thought and where they were trained, as well as methods of treatment together with the experience of treating the particular condition.

Mr. Lee is a 45-year old man who had severe itching and rashes on and off for two years and could not identify the cause. He saw multiple specialists (dermatologists and allergists) who gave him varying diagnoses including food allergies. Mr. Lee requested a Second Medical Opinion to determine what further tests he might need, confirmation of his diagnosis, and a possible treatment plan.

 

Two experts were consulted. Both of them agreed he did not have food allergies and that further food allergy tests should be cancelled. Based on his medical reports, lab results, and description of his skin issues, the experts agreed he had a different kind of chronic allergy not diagnosed by his treating doctors.

 

Me Lee was very happy he could show his physicians his Second Medical Opinion report that had new tests and medications recommended by the experts to try to help improve his skin condition.

AJ noticed a significant loss of sight in his right eye. His ophthalmologist diagnosed him with an intraocular tumour and he underwent the recommended treatment plan without any improvement. He wanted a Second Medical Opinion.

 

His case was evaluated by three specialists, two in the US and one in Spain. All three agreed on an alternative treatment. AJ followed their recommendations and today his tumour has shrunk and he is recovering his sight. 

If you are unsure about a particular diagnosis or surgery that has been recommended for you, our Second Medical Opinion service is designed to provide you with expert medical advice when you need it most.

You will be able to consult internationally renowned specialists to confirm your diagnosis, advise you on the best treatment options and resolve any queries you have from the comfort of your home.

  1. We assign you a Personal Doctor to examine your case and guide you through the process, including identifying the necessary medical reports and clarifying any doubts you may have.
  2. We help you to compile your medical reports and any necessary diagnostic tests (biopsy samples, imaging studies, etc.)
  3. We carefully study your case and send it to a renowned specialist to have it personally reviewed.
  4. We send you a specialist report and your personal doctor will discuss the results with you.
  5. You should review the report with your treating doctor or physician for guidance on appropriate next steps.
  6. Your personal doctor will then follow-up on your progress to advise you and assist you with identifying the healthcare provider for the recommended treatment, within your designated network.  
Still have questions about getting a second medical opinion? Our team at Allianz Partners can talk you though the process, and discuss the options available. Let’s talk.