Radiologists are excellent physicians. They look at an XRAY, MRI, CT, Nuclear study, a PET study and they have the assignment of reading that study and providing an accurate report because sometimes it can be a report of life and death for the patient. The radiologist along with the cardiologist is always under pressure to get it right. These are not scrapes or small cuts; this is serious medicine dealing with serious issues. No medicine is perfect all of the time. When it becomes your problem, you have the obligation to ask all of the right questions because you may well be the gate keeper for someone who is unable to process what is going on. Asking the right questions and looking for advice and 2nd opinions could be your job and you need to handle it.
Sometimes patients become too comfortable with their physician. There may be better treatment somewhere else. There could be a clinical trial across the country that might help the patient. As the gatekeeper you need to push away from the personalities and the emotions and help make a decision based on the facts. Your physician is always there but that physician may be balancing hundreds of patients at one time. You may not have asked for the responsibility but it is there staring at you. And the greatest gift you can give is to be the person who helps when there is confusion or questions regarding the next step. 2nd opinions are there to be used in medicine and for the most part in any serious medical situation they need to be utilized. Don’t worry about hurting a healthcare professional’s feelings… you need to do what is right. Think it through, analyze everything, consult with others who may have more knowledge, apply some common sense, and make your decision. Sounds easy? It may be the most difficult decision you’ll ever make.