C.N. Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology: These days, because of advanced technology, there are always two options available for the treatment of any given disease. Patients also have a strong feeling they're unnecessarily subjected to a lot of procedures that can be avoided. In such circumstances, a second opinion is the only solution. Patients have every right to [seek] a second opinion. But [this] is not required in every case. A patient's dilemma is understandable, but sometimes consultants themselves face a dilemma with respect to diagnosis and treatment strategy. A second opinion is definitely most welcome under such circumstances as it [boosts] the confidence of patients. Doctors should be professional and take it in the right spirit.
‘Many have benefited from it'
G.K. Venkatesh, Director of Institute of Nephro-Urology: A second opinion is basically meant for a better medical opinion. But sometimes patients are out on a “shopping” spree for cost-effective procedures under the pretext of a second opinion.
This trend is obvious, especially with the commercialisation of healthcare. The absence of a monitoring agency to keep a tab on the costs of various medical procedures has only added to the problem. A second opinion is no doubt good for the patient. [Many] who came to us after being advised surgery have been benefited by a second opinion.
B.S. Ajaikumar, Chairperson, HCG Cancer Care Network: The world is moving from evidence-based, generalised medicine to evidence-based, personalised medicine. Patients are taking opinion from a team of specialists, which would be a combination of medical, radiation and surgical oncology. Hence, the world is moving forward to combination therapies to manage cancer. For example, in some cases of cancer, the treatment modality would be a mix of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Hitherto, when a complicated case was presented in the clinic, it would be referred to the tumour board to seek opinion from specialists. Now patients have the privilege of meeting multiple specialists plus the benefit of getting consensus and the right opinion from the tumour board. In the past, patients were meeting general practitioners for all ailments. We now see them to seek a second opinion from a group [which] specialises in a single disease.
‘It's good for the patient'
Ajith Benedict Rayan, Vice President, HOSMAT: It's good for the patient as he has the right to know about the intricacies of his healthcare.
These days, patients have a lot of doubts, especially after they read about the disease and the treatment options available on the Internet. A second opinion will only help build the confidence level in a patient.
‘It opens up our options'
Roopa Venkatesh, cancer survivor: A second opinion opens up further options for patients; it provides us the scope for looking at other possibilities.
Additionally, it gives patients time to ask questions, meet and inform their choice concerning their long-term health and future.
‘Second opinion is important'
Arun, cancer survivor: It's important to take second opinion from specialists as patients should be aware of the treatment.
There are many patients who are uneducated, which makes it difficult for them to understand the treatment process.
In cases such as these, the doctors should be accurate in the treatment.
Once one has taken a second opinion and if he is confident, the decision should be [respected] before the treatment. Patients should have faith in the doctors and doctors should also give a fair opinion on cases where patients can [benefit from] better outcomes.