Series: Mystery Diagnosis

  • Arc Words: Mystery Diagnosis is very fond of these. They include:
    • Bizarre
    • For some unknown reason
    • In healthy individuals [explanation of how a healthy body works.] But in patients like [patient name], [explanation of disease's effects.]
    • "Nothing short of shocking" is used to describe test results often.
    • It is often said that "nothing could have prepared" guests for "what [tests] would reveal."
    • New symptoms are always described as "emerging" or "stopping [X] dead in their tracks." New symptoms are also often characterized as "frightening," "even more frightening," or "bizarre."
    • Towards the end of the segment, expect a variation of "But why did it take so long for the doctors to diagnose the condition?". This is almost always worded as He/She/They "can't help but wonder" why the condition took so long to diagnose.
    • Each episode also has variations of comparisons between patients, because some of them have symptoms too debilitating to ignore, while others' symptoms act like a sleeping giant, and still others have symptoms, but don't do anything about them for a long time.
    • "Head-to-toe exam" and "thorough head-to-toe exam" are also used a lot.

  • Adult Fear: The reason the show is rated TV-14. This is especially true of the parents you see on the show with babies or young children. Actually, the whole thing can be rather freaky (see below).

  • Babies Make Everything Better: Maria Lazazarro, the mother in "The Girl Who Stopped Growing," invokes this trope. She explains that her daughter's being born with mysterious disabilities took a toll on her marriage and that when she and her husband decided to have a second baby, they figured it would fix things. The baby, little Samantha's brother Jake, was born with the same disabilities, later diagnosed as Cockayne Syndrome. The couple divorced after Jake was born.

  • Big Eater: The patient in the second half of "The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Eating," Connor Heybach, has Prader-Willi Syndrome. It's a condition in which the hypothalamus malfunctions, keeping the person with it from ever feeling full no matter how much or often they eat.
    • Also occurred with little Haven Fowler in "Trapped Inside their Bodies." One of the main symptoms of her ROHAAD Syndrome is rapid weight gain/obesity and eating great quantities of food in your sleep.
    • Completely inverted with Samantha Mina, who suffers from SMA Syndrome. This affects one of the arteries in the intestine and makes it impossible to eat without vomiting, cramps, and extreme pain.

  • Body Horror: To varying degrees depending on the episode you're watching. In some, the worst you'll get is a close-up of a blood draw. In others, you'll see close-ups of horrific rashes, bruising, or in one case, a home video of a boy whose psychological symptoms made him act in "bizarre" ways, such as exhibiting motor and verbal tics at an alarming rate.

  • Doctor Jerk: Some of the doctors on the show act like this, especially the ones who are treating children (notably girls) and tell the parents the kid is just being overly dramatic, when the parent knows something is really wrong or the child is clearly in pain or distress.

  • Edutainment Show: Of course, nothing is a substitute for actual medical advice, but if you're a big fan, you will learn a lot about rare diseases and symptoms.

  • Eye Take: Happens a lot (see below).

  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Sometimes, particularly if the patient of the day is suffering from a flesh-eating disease (which happened a few times). This can also happen with large amounts of blood, or even diagrams (such as those that show cholesterol building up around a heart).

  • Ill Boy: All the kids featured on the show. A couple also fall under Littlest Cancer Patient.

  • Mama Bear: Some of the moms of young children on the show who, when confronted with doctors who basically tell them to go home and quit stressing over their kids, tell the doctors to shove it and start doing their own research.

Medical Drama: The show type itself.

Medical Horror: Again, to varying degrees

  • Once an Episode: Often multiple times an episode, usually before commercials, the camera will do a close-up of someone's eyes, usually the eyes of the person the featured disease tried to ravage.

  • Papa Wolf: The counterparts to the Mama Bears, though this happens less than with moms.

  • Screwed by the Network: Lord, YES, at least in the U.S. Episodes are in different time slots, in different orders, at least once every month. They can be shown in marathon blocks, once a week, not for months at a time...screwed royally.

  • Title Drop: Done by at least one doctor.

  • Woobie of the Week: The patients understandably become so distraught over their illnesses, they pretty much have to be this. Especially true in the case of kids.

  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Happened a couple of times, where the actual diagnosis was not a diagnosis itself, but a hallmark of some other disease. Examples included cold agglutinin disease as a hallmark for undiagnosed leukemia and Crohn's symptoms as a cover for a disease called Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome.
    • Sometimes happens because the guests are diagnosed with some type of common or mild disease. They are given medication that seems to work for awhile or clears up the symptoms completely, but then stops working or doesn't respond to a new symptom. Can also happen in cases where the treatment or side effects related to the real diagnosis are actually more devastating than the disease itself.

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