Why should I obtain a Medical Second Opinion?

Cinagi recognises that South African specialists offer medical care of a very high quality, through their extensive expertise and knowledge.

However, there may be incidences where you are being treated for a life-threatening or rare disease, for which little experience and knowledge exists within the local healthcare community. You may also be in a situation where you are currently undergoing treatment but your condition is not improving or you have received differing opinions from local doctors.

You may also naturally feel inclined, out of your own choice, to want to be absolutely certain about your diagnosis. Your specialist may also feel that collaboration with internationally experts recognised as world leaders in their field may be helpful in ensuring an accurate diagnosis.

In all these instances, accessing the global expertise and extensive clinical databases of internationally recognised experts in their fields, is the best way in ensuring an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Cinagi has made this convenient and cost-free, by automatically incorporating the international Medical Second Opinion service into all our gap cover policies.

The Medical Second Opinion service is delivered by our American business partner, Mediguide International LLC, and ensures that you can access one of over 100 World Leading Medical Research Centres (WLMRC) for a comprehensive review of your local diagnosis. This ensures that you can access the world’s leading medical minds to ensure that you have the correct diagnosis and, importantly, the optimal treatment plan.

Leading medical research centres such as Harvard Medical School, Cleveland Clinic, King’s College Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital are just some of the centres on our international panel.

This distinctive approach joins together a number of medical specialists from various clinical specialities at the WLMRC, who are at the cutting edge of medical science globally. This approach joins these specialist skills to provide the most comprehensive clinical review possible of your medical records and diagnosis.

Even when a diagnosis review confirms that your original diagnosis is 100% accurate, substantial confidence is gained that you are on the right treatment plan.

And since we have automatically incorporated Medical Second Opinion for free into Cinagi gap cover, there is no cost barrier to you in finding that peace of mind. Furthermore, to ensure a smooth process, a local case manager will be assigned to you who will manage the entire process on your behalf.

If you would like to read in more detail about international studies on misdiagnosis, click here.If you are a Cinagi member and would like to activate a Medical Second Opinion, click here

A Case Study – Medical Second Opinion

In 2016, 35 year-old Henry Cullen*, already being treated for hypertension, discovered blood in his urine. After consulting his specialist physician, Henry underwent a CT scan, an MRI scan, pathology tests and a fine needle biopsy of his right kidney. He was subsequently diagnosed with malignant carcinoma – a cancerous tumour on his right kidney. The proposed treatment plan was the surgical removal of the entire kidney, followed by several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Henry remembered that his health insurance plan included the Medical Second Opinion service and he decided to undertake a review of his diagnosis. With Mediguide’s assistance, Henry selected Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to undertake the diagnosis review and in co-operation with his physicians and other medical providers, Mediguide collated his complete medical records and securely uploaded these to Dr Novick’s specialist urology team at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr Novick and his team undertook the diagnosis review by reassessing the CT and MRI scans, the pathology reports, the needle biopsy results and his general medical file and then compared these against their substantial experience and extensive clinical database. After completing this comprehensive review and database comparison, Dr Novick and his team concluded that the tumour was very unlikely to be malignant, with a 90%+ probability that it was benign. This was based on the outcome of ±1,600 other clinically similar cases in Cleveland Clinic’s database that they had successfully reviewed.

Henry’s new treatment plan, proposed by Dr Novick and his team, was to target removal of the tumour rather than the whole kidney. Since the tumour was growing on the kidney, this revised treatment plan still required a partial excision of approximately half the kidney but it had the distinct advantage of preserving the unaffected half.

Henry proceeded with the less radical surgery and the subsequent diagnostic tests showed that the tumour was indeed benign. He was hugely relieved. Not only did Henry not have cancer – which would have required months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment – he retained the unaffected half of his kidney which was still functioning normally.

The clinical outcome for Henry was significantly improved! Had he proceeded with the original treatment, not only would he have unnecessarily lost his entire kidney, he would then also have had to deal with far more complex management of his ongoing hypertension.

* – a pseudonym was used to protect the patient’s identity.