I take a potentially toxic drug that is interacting with another drug (i.e. this is a high stakes situation). I am not happy with my current doctor's proposed method of addressing this interaction and have sought a second opinion. I am happy with the new opinion, however, the new doctor has asked me to readdress my concerns with my previous doctor. I have readdressed the issue and am still unhappy with the original doctor's opinion.

After all this I am bit concerned that this new doctor, who I will speak with shortly, will ask me how my conversation went. I don't particularly want to recount the issue, but given the stakes I will. I find the actions of the second doctor kind of demeaning. Additionally I don't want to go into what amounts to disagreement with one professional with another.

I have considered the following if the new doctor inquires regarding this disagreement:

  • Just giving up and providing a description of the conversation.

  • Stating, "I appreciate your concern, having spoken with my original doctor I still have my doubts. However, I don't want to spread confidential information between professionals."

  • Stating, "I greatly value your expertise in this area, however, I am uncomfortable going into this. My original doctor's response didn't address my concerns."

My concern regarding these responses is that I may alienate the new doctor in the process of setting up boundaries.

How can I (attempt to) decline to give details about my conversation with the original doctor, if the new doctor asks?

If it helps the new doctor is younger and setting up his practice. He seems very capable and doesn't have a huge ego.

  • Are you changing your primary doctor from your current physician to your new physician, or is your interaction with the second physician (the one who gave you the opinion that you liked) only about this particular issue?
    – Upper_Case
    May 19, 2019 at 4:09
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    I read this a couple of times and still don't understand this question. Can you try to imaginine you are someone not knowing anything about this situation and reading your text? Your second doctor is ok - but demeaning? The only confidential topic is you - but you want to get help so why not share helpful information between professionals? I understand you don't want to give details about your situation but perhaps this is still too abstract not only for me, to understand what you want to achieve.
    – puck
    May 19, 2019 at 7:04
  • I made an edit to explicitly include a question, based on what it sounded like you are looking for. If that's not what you meant to ask, please go ahead and edit again to clarify.
    – Em C
    May 19, 2019 at 12:11
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    I dont understand why you will hide information to your doctor when he is trying to find a course of action to solve your problem. If doctor A suggest X and you dont like X because Y, you should talk about X and Y with doctor B May 20, 2019 at 19:19
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    Due to various laws around the world about treatments and how doctors prescribe them, we can't possibly tell you what to do without a heap more information which is probably too personal to share here. You should make a decision which doctor's advice you want to follow, go to them, and tell them so. May 23, 2019 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


I have been referred back and forth between doctors many times. They generally send each other letters (I get copies of these but that of course varies between geography). If your new doctor asks you questions about the "re-addressing" with your old doctor, it is not so much "what does the old doctor think" as "what do you know or feel about what the old doctor thinks" because the new doctor probably already knows what the old one thinks.

This new doctor knows you came for a second opinion. If an accurate summary of the re-addressing is "the old doctor still wants to X and I am still not convinced that is right" then say so. You don't need to get into details unless you want to ask the new doctor questions to settle some of those details.

You will not alienate your new doctor if you reveal some of what you discussed with the old one. Nor if you state clearly "I don't want to X because I am concerned about Y." If you give a long monologue about all the things you dislike about your old doctor, you might, but that is no reason to refuse to answer simple questions at all. If you want, practice this a little: ask yourself something you think the new doctor might ask, and answer out loud to see if you tend to ramble or start to rant and complain. After a few tries you'll be in a much better position to give simple answers when you are asked.

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