Anchoring Bias: Can I Get a Second Opinion?

Anchoring Bias: Can I Get a Second Opinion?

Medical Malpractice

The day I met my best friend he had gelled hair with several carefully pieced strands that crawled down his forehead like the legs of the giant creature from season 2 of Stranger Things. He wore Abercrombie and Fitch, a shark necklace, and listened to boy bands. My first impression wasn’t favorable. As I got to know him, I came to discover there was a lot more to him than a cringey series of 90’s trends. Kids can be judgey and first impressions are often misleading.     

               This is an example of what is sometimes called Anchoring bias. Often, when we draw conclusions, we rely too heavily on one bit of information that “anchors” our thoughts on the subject. Usually, this is the first piece of information we get.  Anchoring bias can be a really big challenge for medical professionals. Maybe they see a history of drug use or maybe they notice that the patient is obese. Their diagnosis and treatment plan can get anchored around one piece of information despite other more important factors of consideration. This is why a second opinion can be so important. This isn’t a slam on the medical profession. This bias is common to everyone and occurs in every profession.

               We often have worker’s compensation clients that experience this very thing. A doctor forms a conclusion that made it difficult for them to pursue the treatment that would get them back to work. Occasionally, the worker’s compensation doctors are paid by your employer.  This relationship can also create unrealized biases that are not always in your best interest. Injured workers are often in desperate need of a second opinion. It’s for this reason that a statute exists in the worker’s compensation field that allows patients to get a second opinion from a treating doctor that hasn’t been specifically authorized by their employer. The statute provides for $500 of this “unauthorized” treatment. If you’re concerned your doctor isn’t recommending the treatment you need, talk to your employer about using this unauthorized medical to get a second opinion.

This article is written by Matt Patton. Matt is the youngest Patton boy, a father of two, and a legal assistant at our firm. Though the content of this article is reviewed by a lawyer, this nor any post should be viewed as legal advice. For legal advice concerning your particular situation call our office.

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