Every patient can approach another doctor to obtain a second opinion. In other words, if you want to explore more options or you are dissatisfied with treatment, you can obtain a second opinion. This right to second opinion protects the freedom of a patient to seek the medical care that the patient thinks is best and most appropriate.1 A patient is free to go for a second opinion to any doctor of his choice. The hospital/doctor where he received the first opinion have the following duties 2:
- The doctor cannot hold back a patient from asking for a second opinion by withholding medical records, reports or demanding to release them at a cost.
- The hospital administration is duty-bound to respect this right of a patient. For instance, if the patient comes back to the first hospital after obtaining a second opinion.
- The hospital/doctor should not discriminate or treat the patient disrespectfully.
- Any differences of opinion among doctors should be frankly and impartially explained to the patient or his family.
- Section 2.2, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002
- Charter of Patient Rights, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare