This health video focuses on the times when you should be asking for a second opinion at the doctors.
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Jennifer Matthews: Buying a car, finding a realtor, or remodeling your home ... Chances are you would ask more than one person for advice before making these choices. Dr. Ralph Damiano: If you were having your house painted, you would often get more than one opinion, and I think your own health is probably just as important as your house. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Damiano says there are at least three times you should always get a second opinion: * Your doctor gives you a rare or serious diagnosis * Your doctor tells you there's nothing that can be done * You're feeling fine, but your doctor says you need surgery or other treatment Surgeon Kim Manwaring welcomes second opinions. Dr. Kim Manwaring: I have directed families to gain even a third opinion Jennifer Matthews: And he says other doctors should, too. Dr. Kim Manwaring: No thoughtful physician would be offended by a patient developing a second opinion relationship with another doctor. Jennifer Matthews: But what if your doctor is offended? Dr. Kim Manwaring: I'd think it was a red flag for you, probably very much so. Dr. Ralph Damiano: You'd probably need a second opinion. Jennifer Matthews: First try asking your doctor for a referral. If you're not comfortable with that, call the major medical centers in your area. Some hospitals actually have second-opinion hotlines. Dr. Ralph Damiano: We have a number people can call. They do not have to come see us. Within 48 hours, we will give you a second opinion. Jennifer Matthews: In most cases, insurance companies will cover a second opinion if it's an in-person visit. Some companies even require one. Make sure you bring a copy of all your most recent tests and your medical records with you. Dr. Ralph Damiano: You really can almost never bring too much information. Jennifer Matthews: Myrna Hershman faced invasive bypass surgery. Just before her procedure was scheduled, she got a pamphlet in the mail. Dr. Myrna Hershman: If anybody told you that you needed heart surgery, and you wanted a second opinion, Barnes is offering free second opinions. So, I said, What could be better than that? Jennifer Matthews: It turns out, she was a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Myrna Hershman: When something can be verified, you're more confident that that's the way it is. Jennifer Matthews: Instead of a large scar and a broken breast bone, she only has a tiny scar, and recovery was a cinch. Dr. Myrna Hershman: You never know until you really check it out. Jennifer Matthews: And checking it out could just save your life. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.