We receive many questions about how and when to obtain a second opinion about pulmonary hypertension. First, as a patient you should never feel insecure or like you are not being loyal or a good patient by seeking a second opinion. This is your health at stake. Second, your doctor should not make you feel badly for seeking a second opinion.
Be Your Own Advocate
If you were planning a large home renovation you would not think twice about getting many different quotes. Why should we treat our health any differently? When it comes to pulmonary hypertension, all doctors are not created equally. There have been huge advances in the past 20 years. New medications and new approaches to treating patients. Despite these advances, I still meet new patients that have been told there is nothing to be done to treat PAH by other pulmonologists and cardiologists and primary care providers.
It is worth traveling to a center of excellence (comprehensive care center) at least once to be evaluated and get a truly expert opinion about your disease. Every week I meet new patients that have been incorrectly diagnosed with PAH and who have other diseases that require different treatments.
If you are not getting better then consider getting a second opinion from a center of excellence. You may learn that your doctor is doing everything just right. Or perhaps there are other treatments that are available.
Don’t Worry About Offending Your Doctor
If your doctor is your advocate then they will not be offended that you are seeking a second opinion. Chances are that your doctor cares deeply about you and wants you to be well. Occasionally doctors may have some ego issues that eclipse their caring but the vast majority of the time they want what is best for you.
Plan how to broach the conversation. You have options. If the doctor you want to see is in the same practice then it may be a bit more complicated. Each practice will have policies on this matter. If the doctor you wish to see is in another group or region then you can choose to let your existing doctor know or not.