Diagnosis Recap: A Great Start To The Real Life Doctor House

August 16, 2019
Daniel Hart 11
Netflix, TV Recaps


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.



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.

11 thoughts on “Diagnosis Recap: A Great Start To The Real Life Doctor House

  • August 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

    I love the concept of this show – I am intrigued, and would love to see her get her diagnosis and live a normal life….. but I can’t stand this poor girl’s parents. Cray-cray!

    • August 19, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      I completely agree. Thank goodness she has her boyfriend, because it seems like her parents weren’t very supportive.

  • August 17, 2019 at 2:47 am

    It made me so happy to watch Angel receive her diagnosis. One thing about this show that was very highlighted for me is how absolutely CRIMINAL the American health care system is. Thank god for the Drs in Italy that took an interest in her and offered their services for free. That’s how civilized countries do it. Smh.

  • August 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Obama was trying to change health system in US and from what I’ve gathered most of Americans were against that and called the man “fascist” for it.
    Anyways, aside of totally shocking for me (as an european citizen) american health system, the behaviour of Angel’s father (1st episode) was to say the least bizarre…

    • August 21, 2019 at 7:58 am

      Her father was a jerk. I get that it’s hard to watch a loved one suffer and not be able to do anything, but he was acting like she deliberately had an illness just to hurt his feelings. I hope he’s less narcissistic and unsympathetic when he’s not in front of the cameras.

  • August 19, 2019 at 6:56 am

    While it’s great that a small country like Italy can offer free dx & free care, I’m someone who lived under the NHS & my GM was killed by Kaiser & my FIL was killed by the NHS. Remember #CharlieGard who was killed by the NHS? I don’t want that either. I want PRIVATE as they have in Switzerland but good care & a lower price. Covered California for us starts at $1100 a month. And we can’t afford it. We negotiate with physicians when we need them for now. Bc of Obama, we were kicked off our perfectly fine $300/mo health ins.

  • August 22, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Her family is obviously pathologically stupid. I was super disappointed in this episode for one HUGE reason, a reason that I still don’t understand. Why haven’t they SHOWN what she was eating? Really, I have 0 Medical knowledge and I wanted to know immediately what her diet was. How did the show miss such an obvious part of her life? I think I have a hunch, she must have been eating AWFUL, and I really mean AWFUL food on top of her rare genetic disorder. How can someone be sued for $300 and not be able to pay and consider declaring bankruptcy for such a low amount of money? I think they are just both struggling financially and have been forced to eat god-awful food to survive. Still, for a complete picture, they should have shown her eating habits.

  • August 23, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Angel’s dad is the kind of person that people in the medical field pray not to have as a patient. Imagine the stress that he would give to already stressed individuals trying to take care of him. Guy has some personality issues. But, the good thing is, Angel has finally been able to get the diagnosis that she needs to manage her illness.

  • September 27, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I understand how exhausted Angel must have been at having chronic pain for so many years, but I was disappointed at how pessimistic her response was at finally having people give her more conclusive prospects than just the “we don’t know what you have” that was frustrating her. She had people around the world taking an interest in her case, giving her direction, and all she could do was express disappointment that she’d have to change her diet? And hadn’t she ever considered her poor diet before? She’s a nursing student, that revelation to viewers was shocking. Maybe her family’s lack of optimistic support was extra emotional weight, who knows? Hopefully, she’ll finally have some relief to her pain. But the entire episode was baffling, at least for me.

  • October 20, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Honestly what a lot of people fail to understand is that Angel and her family probably just didn’t know where to go to get the help from the people who would have been truly helpful. I am a pediatrician in California and had her parents just taken her to top notch Children’s Hospital (instead of waiting 10 years later and traveling all the way to Italy), she probably would’ve had her diagnose that much earlier. Had they just driven 5 hours out west to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, went to University of Colorado Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s, Seattle Children’s, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Boston’s Children Hospital, ANY of these hospitals where they ACTUALLY HAVE world renowned geneticists/metabolics physicians, I guarantee each of the hospitals listed above would’ve had the capabilities to detect CPT II. Yes, CPT II is rare but what the Italian doctor said is right – adults don’t know metabolic diseases as well as pediatricians. I trained at one of the above children’s hospitals and I guarantee our Metabolic division would’ve figured it out. It’s just sad that her parents didn’t know where to go to get her the resources that she really needed as 7th grader and that she had to endure this pain for 10 years.

  • September 13, 2020 at 5:00 am

    This episode was super frustrating to watch for the reasons that Evelyn states above. Any genetics and metabolic center In the US would have come to this diagnosis quickly. The hype of the TV show with the idea that she had to go all the way to Italy to figure it out is really disappointing. Hopefully she is being followed at a metabolic center as they are readily available as close as LA or Salt Lake City with well known biochemical geneticists and metabolic dieticians who would provide excellent care.

    Ultimately, I am glad that she did find an answer and is feeling better.

    Definitely a reality show that fell short of giving an accurate view of how you make a diagnosis of rare metabolic diseases. And yes, we do this in the US every day without crowd sourcing. Come visit our team at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. I promise you won’t be sent to Italy for an easily diagnosable metabolic disorder.

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