When your doctor gives you your results, it’s important that you truly understand what the diagnosis means.
Depending on how serious it is, it’s quite possible that you’re feeling shocked, confused or just plain scared.
You might struggle to remember everything the doctor says. So ask him or her to write it down (in simple language) or print out some fact sheets for you.
Collect as much information as you can from your doctor: test results, likely progression and time frame for treatment, and all the treatment options you should consider.
Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
- what will happen if I don’t have this procedure or surgery?
- is it safe to delay the treatment?
- how long before I start the treatment or have the surgery?
- how long will I be in hospital?
- is there an alternative to the proposed treatment?
- how reliable are these tests – is it possible the result is a false alarm?
- how do most people respond to this treatment or surgery – are there risks?
- how much will the treatment cost?
Unless the condition is life-threatening, you probably won’t need to make a decision immediately. So take the information away and read it all carefully. If you’ve been prescribed medication, make sure you get detailed instructions about how and when to take the medicine and information about any side effects or warnings relating to the drug.
It’s a lot to think about. And let’s face it, without being medically trained yourself, it’s still likely to be confusing.
If you have any doubts about the proposed treatment, you are perfectly entitled to seek a second medical opinion.
Defence Health has made it simple and convenient to obtain a second opinion through My Medical Expert.
The My Medical Expert service is provided by the internationally renowned Best Doctors® group. It will connect you and your doctor with advice from a medical specialist who’s an expert in the field of your proposed treatment.
The expert assigned to your case will do an in-depth review of your test results and your condition and provide you with a detailed report to discuss with your doctor. In 10% of cases in Australia, the clinical review results in a change of diagnosis. And in 27% of cases, a suggested change of treatment (on average), as at June 2017.
Now there’s no excuse to feel unsure about your diagnosis or treatment options. And even if you’ve already had the treatment, you can use My Medical Expert to check if you’re on the right road to recovery.
My Medical Expert is provided at no cost to Defence Health members with hospital cover – and it’s here to empower you in managing your health.