The Wisdom of the Crowd
Looking for a Village
A Question of Trust
One of the best tools a Doctor can utilize is the power of other Doctors. House MD. is one of my favourite medical series back when it aired on TV in 2004 and in a way, Diagnosis is like a real-life version of that show, minus the rude, arrogant Dr House. With strange illnesses that stump doctors and defy conventional diagnoses, Dr Lisa Sanders teams up with the New York Times to try and crowd source a solution for these desperate men and women.
Each episode begins much the same way, with a brief introduction to the patient in question and their quality of life. From here, we meet Lisa who offers her medical opinion around what doctors have diagnosed or proposed as a solution to each rare disease. Slick graphics depicting a global view of the world then follows, as the case is put to the public, courtesy of the New York Times, to form a second opinion and crowd-source a possible diagnosis and/or treatment to whatever they may have.
With each episode clocking in at around 48 minutes or so, Diagnosis does well to pace its episode, with the first half revolving around the patient and how they’ve been coping (or not) with their disease before putting it to the public and chasing a solution for the second half. The result is a documentary as engrossing and absorbing as it is emotionally involving. You want these people to get better and as they chase thin shreds of hope, the final diagnosis at the end is followed by a stock photo with text below it, showcasing how far they’ve come and what their quality of life is like now.
Diagnosis doesn’t dumb down any of its material either. Courtesy of a skeletal animation of the human body, handy graphics bring to life whatever the Doctors are proposing, with terms including Lupus, Lyme Disease and brain lesions all broken down and explained after using a myriad of different medical terminology. It’s a really smart move too as it helps give Diagnosis an educational edge.
In a way, Diagnosis feels like a commentary on the current state of the American Healthcare system too. Hearing about 23 year old Angel despairing due to her medical debt or 17 year old Lashay’s poor interactions with Doctors in the past really acts as an eye-opening examination of this. Living in the UK I’m so grateful for the NHS, especially with how quick they’ve been to help my children when they needed it. I can’t even imagine the financial strain this would have had had these visits been billed.
If you’re looking for an engrossing, well paced medical documentary series to sink into, Diagnosis is well worth a look. The cleverly implemented end segment leads into the next episode, enticing you to watch all the cases and really shows the power of crowd-sourcing here. The episodes are well paced, interesting and thought provoking making for a strong medical documentary series.