Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 1, “Detective Work” is an insightful start to the Netflix documentary series, introducing us to Angel Parker, who is desperate to find a diagnosis.
This recap of Netflix documentary series Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 1, “Detective Work” contains spoilers. You can read our season review by clicking these words.
For the opener of Diagnosis, we are introduced to Dr Lisa Sanders. She has been tasked with crowdsourcing diagnoses for rare and mysterious diseases. She proudly states that she was a consultant for the popular TV show House. As soon as I realised that the Netflix series was the real-life Doctor House, it had my attention. By the way, if you haven’t watch House, stop scrummaging through the thumbnails, and watch it, now.
The first episode, “Detective Work”, follows 23-year old Angel Parker. On a daily basis, Angel experiences excruciating pain starting from her legs and shooting all the way up to her jaw.
It’s quite clear that Angel is not a quitter, but at the same time, the number of unresolved hospital visits, and doctors trying to sue her is taking a toll. Angel has been athletic most of her life and has a loyal partner that helplessly cares for her while she is in uncontrollable pain. The whole ordeal surrounding Episode 1 is difficult to imagine.
In one of the scenes, Angel’s having an innocent walk with her boyfriend and a friend, and all of a sudden, the pain kicks in, and she cannot bend her legs. The frustration born from this unknown disease is the main focus of “Detective Work”.
Dr Lisa Sanders puts Angel’s case in her New York Times column, encouraging interested parties to respond to the story. The whole purpose of this exercise is to crowdsource ideas and diagnose possible diseases.
“Detective Work” highlights the emotional toll on Angel’s personal life; she desperately wants her own family, and become a full-time nurse, but both may not be possible with the possibility that the disease might be hereditary. The ordeal has also caused family pressure; her father stubbornly shouts how he wants to be a grandfather in front of the cameras.
Eventually, an Italian medical student offers the most prosperous offer and invites Angel to their practice in Italy. They carry out a metabolic analysis and rule out a hundred diseases. Two months later, they ring Angel and her boyfriend and confirm the diagnosis — Angel has carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) deficiency.
The cure is a diet adjustment — to increase her sugars but lower her fat. But what was the most telling moment is how her boyfriend broke down on camera, knowing that the women he loves, who has suffered 9 years of pain, finally has an answer. It was a heartfelt ending. And the cherry on top is that it is rare that she will pass it on to her children.
Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 1, “Detective Work” is an insightful start to the Netflix documentary series.
You can read the recap of the second episode by clicking these words.