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    STUDIA BIOETHICA - Issue no. 1 / 2013  

  Abstract:  The Right to a Second Medical Opinion – A Malignant Patients Group View. During centuries, seeking for a second medical opinion was considered being a concession for a patient and after that, in the middle of the XXth century it becomes a patient’s right. Second opinion may have a critical influence on the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Seeking a second medical opinion or providing one can cause ethical or legal dilemma. Few studies were done in Romania based on knowing and observing patient’s rights. As we know, there is no research about second medical opinion recommended by doctors or asked by the patients. In our country this right is protected by Patient’s Right Law and by Medical Deontological Code. In an European regular report “The Empowerment of the European Patient – Options and Implications”, in the “patient’s rights” category, out of 31 countries, Romania was situated in 22-27th position because our country failed to implement patient rights recognized by law and restricted or obstructed patients’ rights to second medical opinion. The article reveals the results of a pilot study conducted in Cluj-Napoca Hematology Clinic that has the purpose of evaluating patient’s view about seeking a second medical opinion. We have done semi-structured interviews with 40 malignant patients. All of them had a suspicion on their medical care (investigations, diagnosis, treatment or prognosis accuracy), but only two patients asked for a second medical opinion, even if 20% of patients surveyed said they get less than half of doctor’s explanation. Patients who did not request a second medical opinion motivated by the fact that it is not a common practice in the Romanian medical system, have not thought about it or did not know whom to ask. Asked to describe the attitude of their doctor if he would know that the patient asked another medical opinion, 32.5% of patients felt that their doctor would show empathy, 30% that the doctor would have a disapproving reaction and 37.5% could not answer. Regarding the characteristics of patients who would require a second opinion, there is a statistically significant association between level of education and the desire to seek a second medical opinion. On the basis of this study, a number of seminars for physicians can be conceived to improve the knowledge and application of patient rights in practice and on the other hand informational campaigns for patients regarding their rights. 

Keywords: Right to a Second Medical Opinion, Patient Rights
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