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Second Opinion

Overwhelmed or frightened about a recent medical diagnosis?

 

We have all been in same place at one time or another. You or someone important in your life has been to a physician for a routine check-up that identified an illness. Or maybe you have seen a number of doctors to try to determine why you are not feeling well. You heard words that have put fear into you and the hearts of those who love and care about you. You may have been told you need surgery or a special kind of treatment or medication. You may not understand why and you may hesitate to question the doctor making the treatment recommendation…because that person is the expert!

Along with the sorrow and fear, most patients face a perplexing array of decisions related to a variety of treatment recommendations. Surgeries, medications, treatment options and patient-care advice can be terrifying to the patients themselves as well as to their care-givers. Selecting the best available physician and starting with the most appropriate therapy available is critical. With many illnesses, the success of treatment is often compromised if the beginning phases are not correct ones. The decisions in those beginning phases can be the most critical of all—time to gather information, identify and decide on viable treatment options, find physicians you trust, and become comfortable with your treatment choices. Depending upon your location, getting the correct initial diagnosis and treatment protocol can be even more critical. Twelve to eighteen percent of all medical cases are either misdiagnosed or never diagnosed at all1. Such errors have sometimes led patients to undergo extensive, unnecessary medical treatment and in some cases, even undesired serious results. A second opinion from another expert can decrease the chances of that happening to you.

Although each patient’s case is unique and specific, each one has major decisions to make before and during his treatment. Obviously, at the beginning of treatment, getting a second opinion can be important, but getting a second medical opinion may be appropriate during several other junctures.

What is a Second Opinion?

Selecting the right professional to provide the best treatment is critical. And depending on your location and services available to you near home, getting the correct initial diagnosis or treatment can be even more critical!

Each patient’s case is unique. Major decisions must be made before beginning treatment and getting a second opinion can be very important. Patients often face a perplexing array of information, related to the diagnosis of an illness. Treatment recommendations including surgeries, medications and patient-care advice can be confusing to patients themselves as well as to their loved ones and care-givers.

If you face a change in treatment plans, if your physician is not taking the time to answer your questions, or if you live in a community where your physician has not treated many people with your specific illness or does not have the facilities or expertise, you should consider a second opinion. Maybe you just need reassurance of treatment plans and want another expert’s opinion. Our second opinion service makes sense.

It’s a special service provided to you by our experts to help you understand your medical condition and the most comprehensive up-to-date treatment options available to you. You provide information through your physician to our specialist physicians. Our specialists review your case, diagnose or confirm your condition and make treatment recommendations based on the information provided.

Whatever your needs may be…

International Healthcare Services provides a level of service beyond expectations – comprehensive and culturally sensitive services for our International and US patients include all aspects of patients’ and their families’ medical and personal comfort. With the search for new and innovative treatments, our primary focus is people. Our healthcare providers and all of our employees put our patients and their families first – treating them with warmth and compassion – just as we would want our own family members treated. We provide inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and treatment of patients in a comforting, friendly, state-of-the-art environment.

UNMC employs over 1,500 staff physicians/faculty/researchers in all healthcare disciplines to assist in providing medical second opinion services.

Interesting Statistics

  • In the December 13, 2006 online issue of http://www.medicalnewsweek.com/  the results of a study at he University of Michigan reported the importance of the need for need for second opinion.Washington Post
  • For years, patients have been advised to get an impartial second opinion before undergoing surgery or treatment for a serious illness. Now a new study in the journal Cancer underscores the importance of getting that independent judgment from experts in different specialties before starting cancer treatment.
  • Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center studied the records of 149 breast cancer patients who were referred to the center’s tumor board for a second opinion. They found that the tumor board, which consists of specialists from pathology, radiology and oncology, changed treatment recommendations for 77 (52 percent) of the women.
  • What changed? All patients had received a diagnostic work-up elsewhere and had been given a treatment plan before their arrival at the center. The team of researchers led by Michael Sabel, an assistant professor of surgery at U-M, found that many treatment recommendations had not included new surgical techniques, pre-surgical chemotherapy or the use of sentinel node biopsy, a technique to determine whether cancer had spread. Tumor board radiologists reinterpreted the results of imaging tests in 67 patients (45 percent) while pathologists had a different interpretation of tests — including the stage of the cancer — for 43 patients (29 percent). Staging is one of the most important parts of diagnosis because it assesses the aggressiveness of a malignant tumor, which in turn guides treatment.
  • In an article published by the European Journal of Surgical Oncology, 2006 Feb; 32(1):108-12. Epub 2005, Nov. 2, entitled: ‘Discrepancy between second and first opinion in surgical oncological patients’, the authors found that one third of patient-initiated second opinion consultations resulted in a discrepancy with the first opinion. Half of these different consultations lead to major changes in therapy or prognosis.
  • On Monday Oct. 10, 2005 Health Day News reported ‘Upwards of 12 percent of US cancer patients are initially misdiagnosed which has lead to repeat testing, treatment delays increased health-care costs and patient anxiety’.
    Another retrospective study conducted by the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine found that in a study of nearly 24,000 cases in 4 different sites, the errors ranged from 4.9 to 11.8% of all cases reviewed (Oct. 2005). Reviewers noted that no harmful consequences were noted 55% of the time but also that 39% experienced harm of some kind. Over all, 128,000 Americans have to deal with some kind of error-related harm.

Errors in the Biopsy Diagnosis of Cancer can lead to:

  • Unnecessary or incorrect cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) with serious complications or long-term
    disability when a benign lesion is incorrectly diagnosed as malignant.
  • A missed opportunity to treat a curable cancer, especially when a cancerous lesion was misdiagnosed as non-cancerous.
  • Costly and unnecessary medical expenses.
  • Pain and suffering that could have been avoided.

182 of the Best Doctors in the United States Practice at UNMC*

UNMC is internationally renowned for the diagnosis, treatment and research of lymphoma, cancer care, transplantation and other serious diseases. UNMC has treated patients from all over the world. Our patients come from across the globe for initial diagnosis, second opinions, treatment, and participation in clinical research trials, bone marrow / stem cell and solid organ transplants. UNMC is among the top three transplant centers in the USA.

*Each year the “Best Doctors”organization publishes its list of the top 3% physicians in the USA. In 2005, The Nebraska Medical Center had 182 physicians; representing 34 sub-specialties were named to the “2005 Best Doctors in America”. Of 50,000 physicians in the USA, these physicians were voted in the top 1000 by their peers.

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