Review: Diagnosis

Dr. Lisa Sanders in Diagnosis

Diagnosis takes crowdsourcing into the medical field as a doctor uses her column in The New York Times Magazine to seek advice from around the world on hard to diagnose cases.

Yale physician Dr. Lisa Sanders had a long running column where she talked about unusual cases. With the rise of social media and publications going online where videos can be shared worldwide, she saw an opportunity.

Someone, somewhere, could have an idea about a case that doctors in local areas in the US were not aware of. That’s what Dr. Sanders was looking for when she began posting cases where rare disorders couldn’t be diagnosed correctly by a patient’s regular doctor.

The poster for diagnosis

The 7 episodes of Diagnosis detail individual cases. Each episode begins with introducing the patient and the mysterious problems they deal with. They give their medical history as they tell how and where they sought help. Dr. Sanders explains why she got interested in the case.

The episodes explore some of the options suggested in the crowdsourced responses. Finally, a diagnosis and course of action is figured out and taken. We don’t always see long term results for what is ultimately done. For example, in episode 2, the change for Sadie, age 7, who suffered frequent seizures was only shown after 1 month of treatment. I would like to know if the expected results for Sadie came about after several months.

You get interested in these patients and care about them. I’d like to know if their diagnosis helped long term. Other than that complaint, the story of Dr. Sanders and her medical detective work is very interesting.

The series is available on Netflix.

Watch the Trailer for Diagnosis

Chasing the Cure

I haven’t checked it out yet, but TNT has a series similar to this one. It’s hosted by Ann Curry and is called Chasing the Cure. If medical mysteries are a fascination for you, check this one out, too. How about letting me know if it’s as good as Diagnosis?

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2 thoughts on “Review: Diagnosis”

  1. I enjoyed Diagnosis but also found that one of the takeaways for me were the flaws of the US health care system (ie, sick people with rare diseases going into significant debt to find diagnoses). I am thinking of the young woman with the rare metabolic disorder and the man with Gulf War Syndrome in particular. I also found that one of the themes I noticed was sexism in perception of medical issues interfering with finding a diagnosis. The young woman with likely rumination syndrome and the last episode on paralysis being cases in point. Lots of food for thought here beyond the “thriller” aspect of finding a diagnosis.

    1. It does paint a picture of a broken health care system in the US, when some of the patients traveled abroad for diagnosis and were stunned to discover there was no cost involved. Your comments on sexism hit the mark, too.

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