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Second Opinions 101

How To Choose A Doctor For A Second Opinion

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A second opinion should be from a doctor who satisfies each of the following criteria:

  • A doctor who specializes in your diagnosis and its treatment.
    • A good starting point if Board Certification by the American Board of Medical Specialists in a field directly related to your condition.
  • A doctor who has at least as much experience in the condition as your doctor -- and preferably more.
    • The more experience the doctor has, the greater the probability of a correct diagnosis and treatment course.
  • A doctor who Is not affiliated with the doctor who gave you the first opinion. Two doctors who are friends or work together are less likely to contradict each other.

A doctor's personality and interaction with patients is not generally relevant when choosing a doctor for a second opinion. If it helps, think of this doctor like an automobile mechanic: it is the expertise rather than the personality that counts.

To learn about how to go about the selection process see How To Choose A Specialist. For these purposes, choosing a doctor for a second opinion and choosing a specialist are the same.

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