Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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A recent CNN report suggests that anyone diagnosed with a serious illness should look for these five warning signs and perhaps think twice before taking their doctor’s, or lab’s, results at face value.

1. You don’t get better with treatment. Many doctors don’t like to admit that they were wrong. If this sounds like your doctor and the treatment he or she prescribed for your illness isn’t working, it may be time to get a second, or third, opinion.

2. Your symptoms don’t match your diagnosis. Simply put, your symptoms should match your diagnosis. If they don’t, you may have been misdiagnosed. Before going back to your doctor, or starting over with a different doctor, search the internet to get a better handle on what might be the real problem. In addition to doing a generic Google search, there are many other sites that provide this type of information, such as: webmd.com, yourdiagnosis.com, or myelectronicmd.com. Although not meant to self diagnose, these sites can provide you with information to take to your doctor that might narrow down the possibilities of what ails you.

3. Your diagnosis is based purely on a lab test.Be very wary of lab tests – especially when you don’t feel sick or exhibit the symptoms that accompany a diagnosed illness. Labs make mistakes and some doctors don’t question lab results as much as they should. Work with your doctor to have the same tests analyzed by a different lab if you are in doubt.

4. Your doctor attributes common complaints to an uncommon ailment.Sometimes an ailment is not a sign of something larger. A headache may just be a headache and not a brain tumor.

5. Your diagnosis usually involves a test you never received. The report suggests that certain diagnoses have accompanying tests that can provide additional information. If you haven’t had the accompanying test, go back to your doctor and ask why the test wasn’t given. There is a wealth of information available on the internet that can help here.