I originally wanted to publish this in the New York Times as I wrote it primarily for patients and care-givers. They did not accept it, so it is going to appear in the Internet Journal of Neurology soon. Here is a small piece of the article.
When and how to seek a second opinion-a patient’s perspective
NK Sethi 1, PK Sethi 2
1 Department of Neurology, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, NYP-Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY (U.S.A.)
2 Department of Neurology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi (India)
Address for Correspondence:
NK Sethi, MD
Department of Neurology
Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
NYP-Weill Cornell Medical Center
525 East, 68th Street
New York, NY 10021 (U.S.A.)
There are times when a second opinion is not only appropriate, its necessary. This is true both from the patient’s as well as the doctor’s perspective. Since the patient technically has more to lose, it is imperative that patient’s know when and how to seek a second opinion. This is more significant in clinical neurology especially when one is handed down a diagnosis of a neurodegenerative condition like young onset Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. Diagnosis of a disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is essentially like signing off on a death sentence. Patients and caregivers are distraught and may not know what to do. Some may trust their doctor and agree to his or her management plan. But what if he is wrong? Maybe there is something out there that may help me. Maybe my doctor does not know about it. Even if the diagnosis is correct some may not be comfortable with the line of care. It is at times like these that the question of seeking a second opinion crops up.