An unwanted diagnosis from your doctor can be distressing. An incorrect diagnosis, however, can cause much more harm than that. So when should you seriously pursue a second medical opinion, and when are you just engaging in wishful thinking? Here are some tips to help you sort out this difficult situation.

Know what you don’t know

Although it may be tempting, never let a batch of search engine results redefine your relationship with your doctor. Doing your own research isn’t entirely a bad idea, but a few hasty Google searches can’t replace years of medical training and experience. In fact, trusting the authority of dubious sources can be extremely dangerous.


Unlicensed, erroneous medical advice has taken countless lives since the Internet became widespread. In 2021, one group of scammers raised over one million dollars selling a “miracle cure” to people all across the country. The so-called cure was chemically identical to bleach.


Know what your doctor doesn’t know

It goes without saying that medicine is a complicated field. It can take years for a physician to master treatment practices for just one area of healthcare. If your diagnosis involves a specialized field of medical knowledge, you should absolutely pursue the opinion of a specialist in that field. If your diagnosis involves your kidneys, for example, it’s reasonable to seek the opinion of a nephrologist. Most likely, your family doctor will have a specialist in mind to recommend.


Investment, risk and reward

It’s also appropriate to seek a second opinion based on logistical reasons. If your proposed treatment involves an expensive surgery, prescription or rehabilitation regimen, it’s okay to seek a second opinion to ensure the costs are completely necessary. The money you spend on a second doctor visit will be pennies compared to the money wasted on unnecessary or incorrect treatment measures.

If you are looking for medical advice—whether it’s a second opinion or initial consultation—Franciscan Health is here to help. Visit to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified physicians.

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