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Medicolegal Second Opinion

My mentors taught me that a second opinion was to be considered as a service to colleagues and patients alike.  In an ideal world, where medical care is given with honesty and integrity by practitioners who are well-trained and keep their skills and education current and evidence-based, when complications or disappointing results occur, patients will have been prepared for that possibility.  It is when some part of that recipe is missing and expectations and reality aren’t matched, that the doctor-patient relationship starts to fray.

In these circumstances, an honest, impartial opinion may be al that is needed for a patient to be reassured and continue with their doctor to address whatever is needed.

Elsewhere in the world, where malpractice litigation is common, a second option by a rival has become a source of division in the profession as colleagues vye for fees and reputation.  New Zealand has ACC legislation and virtually no scope for medical practitioners to be sued for monetary compensation, so this aspect is much less of a driver here, but if ever I do suggest an alternative treatment, I make a point of not being the surgeon who treats that patient myself if at all possible.  In this way, there is no possibility of a conflict of interest as a result of the opinion I give.

An honest impartial option as a service to patients and colleagues alike