Second Opinion Returns for a Provocative Third Season of Reality Medical Television--Free Healthcare Diary Available by Mail

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Starting the week of October 2 on PBS (check local listings for days and times), veteran host Dr. Peter Salgo leads some of the most open, honest—and sometimes forceful—discussion of medical issues found anywhere. No matter the topic, the expert panel debates the pros and cons of diagnostic tests, interprets test results, and often picks apart the patient’s treatment plan to determine whether or not, in their expert opinion, the best course of treatment was prescribed.

While network television producers are busy cranking out scripts for popular medical dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House,” real doctors, patients and researchers with the PBS series SECOND OPINION are completing work on another robust season of reality medical television. In this award-winning health series, there are no surgical interns, no patients with mysterious illnesses and no renegade doctors. In stark contrast to what’s seen on commercial television, SECOND OPINION engages real life experts in a fast-paced analysis of actual medical cases.

Starting the week of October 2 on PBS (check local listings for days and times), veteran host Dr. Peter Salgo leads some of the most open, honest—and sometimes forceful—discussion of medical issues found anywhere. No matter the topic, the expert panel debates the pros and cons of diagnostic tests, interprets test results, and often picks apart the patient’s treatment plan to determine whether or not, in their expert opinion, the best course of treatment was prescribed.

“What viewers of SECOND OPINION have come to expect is the type of frank talk that until now has been reserved for the doctors’ lounge,” says Dr. Peter Salgo, the Emmy Award-winning host of the PBS series. A practicing internist and anesthesiologist who maintains a full-time practice in Intensive Care Medicine in the Open Heart ICU at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, Dr. Salgo believes patients generally do not ask enough questions about their diagnosis or treatment plan and routinely place too much faith in their doctors.

“Patients need to realize that they are in control of their own healthcare,” Dr. Salgo says. “We want viewers to know how to get the most out of a brief visit with a physician. Viewers see what questions to ask and how to better understand the medical terminology. But most important, we empower people to seek the quality healthcare services they deserve.”

In this third season of SECOND OPINION, Dr. Salgo leads the discussion on a range of topics including diabetes, life after breast cancer, aging, chronic pain, fertility, sleep disorders, gastric bypass surgery, and more. Some of the experts appearing this season include national sex and health columnist Dr. Pepper Schwartz; New York Times Magazine columnist and Yale University physician Dr. Lisa Sanders; director and Founder of the National Chronic Pain Society Helen Dearman; Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, chief of the Division on Aging and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Marilyn Webb, author of The Good Death; and New York Times writer Donald G. McNeil, Jr.

“Many of the medical stories making news headlines today are topics we explored on SECOND OPINION last year or even the year before,” says Dr. Salgo. “The vaccine for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one example that immediately comes to mind. It is hitting the press now, but we talked about it in-depth two years ago.”

Dr. Salgo believes viewers benefit from these conversations. “When we bring together the top experts in a given medical specialty and ask them to be honest about the challenges and hopes for a particular diagnosis, the result is forward-thinking medicine.”

In addition to the weekly broadcast, SECOND OPINION engages and entertains viewers online through a comprehensive companion Web site at http://pbs.org/secondopinion . The series hosts a new interactive group online at Gather.com

http://secondopinion.gather.com where experts appearing on the program will conduct live chats and viewers can connect with each other to discuss a similar diagnosis or condition.

To support the launch of its third season, SECOND OPINION producers are offering viewers a free personal healthcare diary that includes tips for communicating with your doctor and a log for tracking medical tests. To obtain a free copy, send a self-addressed #10 envelope with 63 cents postage to:

Second Opinion

WXXI Public Broadcasting

280 State Street, PO Box 30021

Rochester, NY 14603-3021

National underwriting for SECOND OPINION is provided by The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), representing the 38 independent, locally owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 94 million—nearly one-in-three—Americans.

Scott P. Serota, BCBSA’s president and CEO says SECOND OPINION provides its audience with understandable, usable healthcare information, which fits well with Blue Cross and Blue Shield System’s vision for a better, knowledge-based healthcare system.

“The SECOND OPINION series demonstrates that when patients, providers and the healthcare community come together and collaborate, good things can happen, like better quality healthcare,” says Serota.

For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit http://www.BCBS.com.

SECOND OPINION is produced by WXXI Public Broadcasting, West 175 Productions and the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). The series is endorsed by both the American Hospital Association and the Association of Academic Health Centers. Dr. Roger Oskvig, an acknowledged leader in Gerontology and Associate Professor of Medicine at URMC, is the series’ principal medical advisor.

WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to http://www.wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is made up of 38 independent, locally owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 94 million – nearly one-in-three – Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit http://www.BCBS.com. For more information on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s policy positions and the healthcare debate, visit http://www.BCBSHealthIssues.com.

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Erin Kane
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