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Coroner alerts health secretary to another case where second opinion could have prevented child’s death

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2218 (Published 26 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2218

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Re: Coroner alerts health secretary to another case where second opinion could have prevented child’s death

Dear Editor,

Availability of second opinions may improve diagnosis and treatment for patients who, paradoxically, never obtain a second opinion. If doctors know their work could be reviewed in real time, most will try harder to cover all bases.

Otherwise in daily practice, McCrae’s aphorism - that more is missed by not looking than by not knowing - may apply.

Options for investigation and therapy vary, but “low hanging fruit” of other testable/treatable diagnoses exist.

When disease progresses rapidly, not considering “zebras” as well as “horses” may have fatal consequences.

Even in jetplane cockpits, relying for safety on tried-and-tested checklists, two heads turn out to be better than one.

Competing interests: Dr Copeman provides second opinions.

10 October 2023
Michael C Copeman
Oncologist
Copeman Clinic
Palm Beach Sydney NSW 2108 Australia