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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

October 12, 2021, Amy Johnson, RN, BSN
The Benefits of Second Opinions in Cardiology
The Benefits of Second Opinions in Cardiology

Our team of pediatric heart care specialists at Phoenix Children’s Heart Center is here to provide second opinions on your child’s diagnosis and collaborate with your primary care provider to ensure they are receiving the best possible care.

Many parents are reluctant to seek out a second opinion in fear of offending their primary care providers, but it can be a critical, even lifesaving, component to your child’s treatment.

Here we outline the benefits of a second opinion and why you should not feel guilty when bringing up the topic with your doctor.

The benefits

One of the greatest benefits of a second opinion is the peace of mind parents get knowing that they have explored every possible avenue for their child’s care.

Second opinions can confirm a diagnosis, help understand different treatment options, and review the child’s current treatment plan to ensure it’s the right one for their family. Even after treatment has begun, second opinions can help make adjustments to the patient’s care.

Because of the complexity of each illness, there is no universal approach to treatment. Every case is different, and by having more than one expert evaluate a child’s diagnosis, a parent can feel secure in the approach their doctor is taking for their child’s long-term treatment.

Second opinions also allow families to analyze their relationship with their current provider and decide if that relationship is the best fit for both the parent and their child. Ultimately, it is crucial for both the parent and child to feel comfortable with their doctor.

Getting a second opinion allows parents to be well-informed on the different treatment and management approaches that are available and can help parents feel empowered in making the most educated health decisions for their child.

No guilt

One of the barriers parents face when considering a second opinion is the guilt associated with it.

Parents often worry they will offend their primary care providers, but any experienced, well-skilled physician will welcome a second opinion from their peers. They will often encourage families to explore other options knowing this will ultimately help the family find peace regarding complex medical decisions for their child.

Even parents who are satisfied with their child’s current provider may decide to get a second opinion. Seeking out a second opinion can help alleviate any unanswered questions and provide reassurance regarding their child’s medical care. When parents have peace of mind knowing they did everything they could to fully educate themselves and understand treatment options, they are equipped to make the best possible decisions for their child.

In a different scenario, parents may not be completely satisfied with their child’s current primary care provider and are hoping to find a better option for their child.

Ultimately, getting a second opinion is beneficial. Finding a provider, they feel comfortable relating to will help them develop trust in their relationship and ease some of the burdens and anxieties that accompany a difficult diagnosis. Parents are entitled to do what is necessary to understand the specifics of their child’s condition and explore various treatment and provider options available without feeling any guilt.

Steps to getting a second opinion

One of the first steps for parents seeking out a second opinion is to first speak with their provider.  Direct involvement from the child’s doctor from the beginning is helpful in establishing a good working relationship between their child’s doctor and the specialist the parent is seeking a second opinion from.

When asking for a second opinion, your child’s doctor may refer you to one of our Heart Center specialists and send over medical records needed to make an evaluation when the patient arrives at the first consultation.

Parents who may not feel comfortable requesting a second opinion from their current provider are welcomed to fill out this online form that does not require a referral. Once your information is filled out, Phoenix Children’s Heart Center will directly reach out to you to gather further information and, with your permission, obtain medical records from your primary care team.

To read more on the Cardiology Second Opinion Program and what questions to ask your Heart Center specialist, visit our program page here.

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