When to seek a second medical opinion

Kinderling News & Features

How much do you trust your family doctor? Should you take their opinion to be the be-all and end-all? What is the role of second opinions? 

Sarah Hunstead of CPR Kids answers all these questions and more. 

Listen to Sarah on Kinderling Conversation: 

Pay attention to your instincts

“What it boils down to is that you need to trust your gut. More than anything, you know your child,” Sarah says.

“At the end of the day, if your gut is saying that something is not right, you’re not happy, or just not 100 percent convinced with what the doctor is saying to you, then it is entirely within your rights to go seek a second opinion.” 

Be up front about it 

When raising this with your doctor, emphasise that you trust them but want to seek, understand and consider all possible options available to your sick child, to ensure you are completely confident in the decision that you’re making for their health. 

Be honest with this, as you may need a referral to see a particular specialist. Your doctor can also pass on your child’s medical history and test results to show this second doctor. If you don’t ask for these, your child may end up being subject to the same tests over and over. 

Medical history 

Sarah says that parents also have a bit of responsibility in this area - in order to receive the correct diagnosis, describing how their child has been feeling accurately is important.

“We need to be able to give a good, accurate medical history, because if we’re telling one story to one doctor, and a different story to another, of course we’re going to end up with different things.”

It can be good to write these things down as they happen, says Sarah. “When you’re sleep deprived and your child is sick and they’ve been waking up throughout the night, don’t rely on your memory, write everything down."

In the end, “It’s about trusting that you know what’s best for your child and your family whilst listening to the medical advice and opinions. If you go visit two different doctors who give you the same advice, then you’re much more likely to be comfortable with following that.”