Second Opinions About Your Epilepsy Condition
Many individuals suffering from ongoing seizures or persistent side effects from antiepileptic medications, may feel uncomfortable getting a second opinion from a specialist. Will getting a second opinion insult my doctor? Will my doctor be mad at me?
In fact, it has been well-documented, that many individuals with epilepsy that could greatly benefit from seeing an epilepsy specialist, are not referred in a timely fashion. Recent studies show, that if seizures are uncontrolled, trying medication after medication is not likely to control seizures, if seizures continue after trying two different antiseizure drugs. In such situations, it is very reasonable and advisable to see an epilepsy specialist.
In a book we wrote to try to help people make their way through our complicated medical system (The Essential Patient Handbook; Ettinger AB and Weisbrot DM, Demos 2004), we wrote the following:
When you ask your doctor questions… you are not disputing the doctor’s knowledge or integrity but rather trying to better understand your illness. A request for a second opinion should never be challenged by your doctor. It is also reasonable to raise questions about information learned elsewhere that appears to contradict the doctor’s conclusions, as well as to inquire about how thorough the evaluation was.”
Furthermore, we stated:
“Second opinions are not only helpful when a diagnosis is unclear, but sometimes they should be considered even when a diagnosis is rendered-for example, when major decisions hinge on an accurate diagnosis or when symptoms persist despite recommended treatment.”
A final thought:
“A second opinion can give fresh insights or further clarify the diagnosis, lead to a different diagnosis, or arrive at similar conclusions about the diagnosis. It can also include suggestions for other treatments.”
With reasons like these, why shouldn’t your doctor welcome a second opinion?