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A red-violet image of a brainm, with circuit diagrams to the left and ribbons and stars to the right, surmounted by a semi-opaque white blog containing the words "Health Beyond the Blog"

Health Beyond the Blog: Diagnosis – A Netflix Docuseries

by Harleigh Markowitz

Diagnosis is a 2019 Netflix docuseries that follows Dr. Lisa Sanders as she attempts to diagnose and treat mysterious illnesses using crowdsourcing. Each episode is dedicated to a single patient and their rare, undiagnosed illness. The patients featured in Diagnosis ranges from 6 to 61 years old. They each have a unique set of debilitating symptoms that remain a mystery to previous doctors and other medical professionals. One episode covers the story of a 23-year-old nursing student who suffers from hour-long episodes of severe pain and paralysis of her extremities. Another episode follows a 6-year-old who has fainting episodes that leave her unresponsive; her family reports her having these episodes up to 300 times per day. When doctors can’t find a diagnosis, Sanders and these patients invoke crowdsourcing for ideas.

Diagnosis is a medical series like no other in that it highlights flaws in our medical system allowing patients with rare diseases to fall through the cracks. It also illuminates the power of the internet and social media to solve complex problems in healthcare. Additionally, this docuseries brings awareness to several rare and complex diseases that are often misdiagnosed. This series was created and produced by both Netflix and The New York Times. All seven episodes were released in August of 2019. The docuseries is based on Sanders’s column for The New York Times Magazine. With the help of Sanders and her readers, many of these patients received proper diagnoses that ultimately changed the course of their lives.

You can watch Diagnosis on Netflix.