The New York Times biweekly column by Lisa Sanders, M.D. “Diagnosis” is collaborating with Netflix to produce a documentary series about rare diseases. Each episode of the series will feature a different patient with a rare disease. Lightbox Entertainment recently posted their first case on Facebook, asking readers to identify a patient’s disease.
The “New York Times” article details the struggles of a young woman named Angel as her body is ravaged by the rare unknown diseases. She had experienced symptoms for as long as she could remember with her first “episode” taking place when she was a little girl.
One day Angel was out hiking with her dog and a friend, the initial hike up the slope was fine. However, Angel found that she could no longer move her legs on the trek down the slope. Angel collapsed, screaming from the pain. The situation that occurred on that day was by no means the first time this had happened. Her life became a cycle of painful episodes. The routine was the same every time: Her muscles would lock up, causing pain to explode across her body, and she would be taken to the hospital to be stabilized. No doctor was able to diagnose her condition.
Each time she would arrive at the hospital, doctors were only able to determine her muscle tissue had experienced extreme breakdown in the affected areas. This breakdown of tissue was attributed to many different causes, none of which have proved to be Angel’s true illness.
The nature of the Facebook post is to harness the power of isolated connectivity to achieve a diagnosis for Angel. At the bottom of the article, there is a spot to put your name, email and proposed diagnosis. The post garnered many diagnoses from participants, and, those who the producers believe might have diagnosed Angel will get an opportunity to be on the show.
“Diagnosis” will include a total of eight episodes. Each episode’s patients will be uncovered by Sanders, who is an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine. The approach to the rest of the episodes will include the same usage of social media, isolated connectivity and the internet in general.
The show also aims to not only acquire diagnoses for the patients but also hopefully find the cure for these diseases. If nothing else, the rare diseases that are exemplified in the show will hopefully receive raised awareness for the patients. The release date for “Diagnosis” has not been determined at this time.