Diagnosis Recap: Mistrust and Cynicism

By Daniel Hart
Published: August 16, 2019
Netflix series Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 5 - A Question of Trust


Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 5, “A Question of Trust” is frustrating, mostly because of the patient and her family, and not the condition itself.

This recap of Netflix documentary series Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 5, “A Question of Trust”, which concerns Rumination Syndrome, contains spoilers. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.

Episode 5 introduces us to 17-year-old Lashay Hamblin. She cannot hold anything down that she eats or drinks. Due to negative experiences with previous doctors who accuse her condition of being psychological, the family has been ultra-cynical about other diagnoses. Lashay claims that her experiences began when a raccoon bit her, but tests have dismissed that her condition is down to parasitical involvement.

Out of all the episodes so far in Diagnosis, “A Question of Trust” was the most frustrating. I want to think I am an intuitive person, and my intuition tells me that something is not quite right with this story.

Dr. Lisa Sanders does her utmost best to crowdsource ideas for Lashay and her family, but there is one flagrant problem: her mother. Lashay’s mother spends most of Episode 5 speaking for her daughter. Nearly every question aimed at Lashay is met with silence, and her mother speaks on her behalf. It’s particularly hard to watch when Dr. Lisa Sanders interviews both of them, and the mother is defensive rather than trying to provide a collaborative presence.

I get it — being a parent can cause any rational person to be extra-protective, but there is a story that is not told in Episode 5. I understand that doctors can let you down, making parents froth at the mouth. But I believe the biggest giveaway in “A Question of Trust” is the mother not even considering further options; surely, you would want to find a cure for your daughter?

The crowdsourcing is positive, but some of the responses are negative, accusing Lashay of having an eating disorder. The most consistent diagnosis was Rumination Syndrome. During the crowdsourcing exercise, Lashay’s mother half-dismissed all suggestions, claiming that doctors have already been down this path. I could tell by Dr. Lisa Sander’s facial expressions what she was thinking: “Let your daughter speak”.

Dr. Sanders introduces Lashay to a clinic with a positive reputation, and a patient gives her the low-down on Skype about his experiences. Surprise, surprise, the mother is lurking in the background ready to provide an inconclusive answer.

Diagnosis Season 1, Episode 5, “A Question of Trust” ends with Lashay leaning towards joining this clinic, but the end credits reveal that she has still not accepted treatment for Rumination Syndrome. I would not be surprised if as soon as the cameras departed her mother put a stop to it all. Either that or Lashay is not wholly truthful about her ordeal.

I just don’t get it. If you have Rumination Syndrome and there is a clinic willing to help, surely you’d take it to improve your chances of living a long, healthy life — Dr. Sanders expressed the risks with the tubing and bacteria, yet there’s a reluctance to take the help available. I guess you can only help someone who wants to be helped.

This episode bugged me — I wish I knew the truth behind closed doors.

You can read the recap of the sixth episode by clicking these words.

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