Medicine: Capsules: Feb. 16, 1981


Should people seek out second opinions before elective surgery? Last December a Blue Cross study of a small group of volunteers suggested that second opinions might even increase the number of operations. These findings were contradicted last week by the most thoroughly documented report so far. Its conclusion: second opinions can save money and spare people surgery they probably do not need.

The study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Eugene McCarthy of New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, who pioneered the use of second opinions in 1972. Since then, 6,799 members of nine labor unions in...