Dr. Roach: Don’t keep second opinion plans secret

Dear Dr. Roach...

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Lifestyle

June 21, 2022 - 1:45 PM

Dear Dr. Roach: When I seek a second or even third medical opinion, should I tell the subsequent doctors what the previous one(s) diagnosed? — C.B.

Answer: I understand the thinking that if you say nothing and get the same answer as the previous physician, it makes the answer seem more solid. You don’t want the second-opinion doctor to be “anchored” to the previous diagnosis (this is a well-recognized mistake doctors make, called a cognitive bias).

In general, however, physicians do best when they are given all relevant information. Telling the second-opinion doctor what the first doctor thought, and why you are suspicious enough to seek a second opinion, will probably get you a better evaluation. 

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