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One Shocking Reason Why Getting a Second Opinion is So Important

Tim Boyer's picture
Oncologist prosecuted for fake cancer diagnoses

Here’s one shocking reason why getting a second opinion is so important to your finances and your health.


According to a recent NBC News Dateline report, oncologist Farid Fata, M.D. is going to spend a long time in prison for intentionally poisoning over 500 patients with chemotherapy and cancer drugs in a healthcare scam to bilk patients and insurers with fake cancer diagnoses. Had it not been for a fortunate broken leg accident by one of his patients before undergoing prescribed chemotherapy, he may well have continued to get away with a long-running healthcare scam that netted him over $17 million at the cost of many of his patients’ lives.

Here is the news story narrated by NBC anchor Lester Holt:

While this may seem like an isolated incident, according to The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), related crimes in healthcare fraud amount to tens of billions of dollars each year. In fact, a similar case was revealed in which a Chicago cardiologist was found guilty of performing 750 medically unnecessary heart catheterizations, along with unnecessary angioplasties and other tests as part of a 10-year fraud scheme that involved three other physicians and a hospital administrator. Reportedly, their scheme resulted in the deaths of at least two patients.

While this does not mean to imply that the majority of medical doctors should be treated with suspicion, what it does highlight is that many of those caught had reputations of being the best in their respective fields. The onus is that when patients are convinced they are in the best of medical hands, they tend not to question their physician.

So when should you seek a second opinion?

According to the Cleveland Clinic’s “Health Essentials” website, Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer, MD MBA, orthopedic surgeon and Managing Director of the MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion program, it makes sense to get a second opinion when you face a medical condition that is life-changing or even life-threatening.

According to Dr. Schaffer, a second opinion can help you:

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• Become a more educated healthcare consumer

• Confirm that your diagnosis is appropriate

• Confirm that the recommended treatment is appropriate

• Compare outcomes of the treatments you are offered

And, as an addendum—protect you from intentional and accidental misdiagnoses.

According to Dr. Schaffer, ultimately, a second opinion can help you make the best decisions for your health.

“Having additional information about your diagnosis and treatment can only be helpful. Most importantly, as a patient, it is your right to seek a medical second opinion. You are your own best advocate,” Dr. Schaffer says.

Reference: NBC News Dateline―“This Patient's Broken Leg Unraveled Medical Fraud