Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Second Opinions Are Important

Dr. C refered Riley to Dr. F, an orthopedic specialist.  I was feeling very lucky because Dr. F was working out of a hospital just 2 miles from my house and he could see me in an hour.  It could not have been more convenient. 

We arrived at Animal Hospital #2 and waited 45 minutes to see Dr. F.  I assumed this was a no brainer surgery case since Dr. C seemed to think so.  I expected Dr. F to agree and we would proceed from there.

Dr. F agreed that there was something on the x-ray, but he did not think it was that cut and dry.  He took another x-ray from a different angle.  He did not see anything on that x-ray so he declared that the bone chip we were seeing was actually some arthritis and that she likely was suffering from a really bad bone bruise.  Ice, Deramaxx, and a couple of weeks off and she would be just fine.  He did not think there was enough pain or swelling to be a fracture.
Area of swelling.

I was thrilled and feeling very lucky.  We had dodged a bullet.  Dr. C called to find out what Dr. F had said and was not convinced.  He was not satisfied with that diagnosis and called Dr. F to asked him to look at the x-rays again.  Dr. F said he would call back if he changed his mind.

In the meanwhile, I have a greyhound friend in California who happens to be a veterinary internal medicine specialist (Dr. H) and she asked me to email the x-rays to her so she could consult with the orthopedic specialist in her practice (Dr. B).  That was easy to do because I had stopped by my house on the way to see Dr. F so I could copy the x-ray disk that Dr. C had given me.... I knew the bloggers would want to see them.

Dr. B was definitely suspicious that the area of concern was a fracture and felt that she was far too lame and non-weight bearing (as I had described) to just be a bone bruise.  I relayed the message to Dr. C who called my friend, Dr. H, to discuss Dr. B's findings.............are you confused yet?

And then my friend, Dr. A, chimed in and asked to see the x-rays too.  After receiving the email, she too thought we were probably dealing with a fracture.

At this point, we had 4 out of 5 vets believing we had a fracture.  I asked Dr. C to refer me to another orthopedic specialist for a 2nd opinion.