second opinion ask other doctor medical diagnosisThe minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.
—Maureen Dowd

 

Don’t settle when it comes to your health care. Here is a quick illustration of how just one hour of research, some chutzpah, and the willingness to question a doctor made a huge difference in my son’s life.  

When my youngest son, Binyamin, was four years old, I suspected that he had a mild hearing loss. I took him to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor who was recommended by our primary-care doctor. The ENT specialist confirmed the mild hearing loss in one ear and said it was caused by chronic otitis media, or ongoing fluid buildup behind the eardrum. He recommended surgically inserting ear tubes to drain the fluid, resolve the hearing loss, and prevent certain, significant further damage.

After the appointment, I did some research, which means that I Googled otitis media and found that children with chronic otitis media usually have numerous ear infections.  Binyamin, though, had only had one ear infection in his whole life. The diagnosis didn’t make sense to me.

At our next meeting with the ENT specialist, when I began to explain my hesitation in accepting the diagnosis, he told me not to believe everything I read and emphasized again that failure to do the surgery would lead to further hearing loss. I was not convinced and went to get a second opinion.

The next highly recommended ENT specialist had a different diagnosis. He saw no indication of otitis media and said that the hearing difficulty was caused by a few bones in Binyamin’s left inner ear that were even tinier than they should be. He said that the hearing loss should not get worse over time, that inserting ear tubes would accomplish nothing and that, short of getting hearing aids, there was nothing to be done except monitor Binyamin’s hearing for now.  Later, when he is finished growing, he can choose to have surgery to address the congenital problem with his bones.

Now, seven years later, Binyamin’s very mild hearing loss has stayed exactly as it was all those years ago. If I had gone along with the first doctor’s diagnosis and recommendation, I would have subjected my son to one or two surgeries with general anesthesia and achieved nothing.

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Is there anything about your diagnosis, prognosis, or current treatment plan that doesn’t ring true to you or that seems like it is not working as it should be?  Where could you look or whom could you ask to get more information or a second opinion on that issue?

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This is the 21st in a series of excerpts from the first section, Take Charge, of my new book, Everyday Healing. To start your journey on Day 1 and read the whole book: Everyday Healing: Stand Up, Take Charge and Get Your Health Back . . . One Day at a Time please visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble  or your local independent bookstore to pick up your copy today.

As always, if you have any thoughts, feedback or questions, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let’s talk!

To your health,

Janette