Film Facts

 

GOALS

• Introduce the world to a problem that most people are unaware of

• Reveal the missed opportunity to collect valuable data from the undiagnosed population

• Advocate for the creation of a database to store all undiagnosed cases that will globally connect doctors and patients to other undiagnosed cases showing similar symptoms, thereby sharing treatment knowledge and expediting diagnosis

• Change the way undiagnosed patients are viewed and treated by doctors and the medical system

• Build an Undiagnosed Community for these patients and families that have no form of support

 

PRODUCTION

• Over 500 hours of footage with top medical professionals and families from more than 20 cities across the US

• Filming is 75% complete

• $300k of finishing funds is needed to complete the film. Fundraising efforts thus far have raised $200k through grants and individual donations 

• The production team has been funding the most project out-of-pocket, including donating their own time and film equipment for the past 4 years

 

TIMELINE & DISTRIBUTION

• Projected to have a film festival cut done by September 2017 for submission to the Sundance 2018 Film Festival

Undiagnosed will be submitted to all major film festivals that screen documentaries, including Sundance

• A 50 minute cut for television network distribution will be made

• National and international distribution will be sought after from film distribution companies, as well as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Documentaries, Discovery Health, PBS, and TLC

 

STORYLINE

• Documentary comprised of:

    - 5 in-depth family stories of undiagnosed patients and their families, ranging from infancy to adults.

    - A rare opportunity for 5 undiagnosed patients in the movie to participate in a "diagnostic challenge" hosted by Harvard Medical and Boston Children's Hospital. In the "CLARITY Undiagnosed Challenge" the 5 patients will have their medical information and DNA sequencing of their entire family scrutinized by medical teams from all over the world who will be competing to reach an accurate diagnosis for these patients. This is a unique way to approach medically complex cases that have eluded diagnosis for many years, and a new beacon of hope for these patients and their families who have nowhere left to turn. The CLARITY Undiagnosed Challenge will be filmed from start to finish and featured in Undiagnosed with the goal of highlighting the roles of technology, collaboration and the evolution of medical sciences. By showing innovative ideas of how diagnosis and data allocation can be successfully done, Undiagnosed will bring to light this timely issue of a profoundly underestimated population and impact the future of medicine.

    - Intimate footage from 3 days of exclusive filming at the National Institutes of Health “Undiagnosed Diseases Program”

    - Interviews with top medical professionals, including physicians, researchers and psychologists

    - Interviews with leading technologists, including Internet Pioneer Vinton G. Cerf

    - Interviews with over 10 other undiagnosed/previously undiagnosed patients will be peppered throughout the film to give a well-rounded look at the issues that this population faces. 

• Creator & Co-Director Dr. Katia Moritz is both a clinical psychologist and an undiagnosed patient. Her documented undiagnosed journey will weave together the content of the film with her unique doctor/patient perspective

 

UNDIAGNOSED FACTS & STATISTICS

• Patients are considered to be undiagnosed if no explanation for their symptoms can be found over a reasonable period of time. They may spend years going from doctor to doctor, and misdiagnoses, treatment delays and repeated, often unnecessary and costly tests are frequently the norm. Reasons for being undiagnosed include:

·      Proper testing has not been done, or results were not interpreted correctly

·      The right specialist has not been found

·      The patient has a known condition that is presenting in an unusual way

·      The illness has not yet been understood or named. 

• The total number of undiagnosed patients is unknown but considered to be vast. To provide some perspective on this epidemic, consider that it takes an average of 7.6 years in the United States to uncover a rare disease diagnosis. Worldwide there are an estimated 350 million people living with a rare disease; add to those, patients still waiting for a diagnosis, patients who have been misdiagnosed, and adults and children who have diseases not yet named or recognized.


F.A.Q.

 

What Does “Undiagnosed” Mean?

Children and adults are considered to be undiagnosed if an explanation for their symptoms cannot be found over a reasonable period of time, despite repeated examinations. Why can’t they be diagnosed? A few of the many, many possibilities include: The proper testing has not been conducted, or the tests that have been done were not performed or interpreted correctly; the right specialist has not been found; they have a known condition that is presenting in an unusual way; or, they have an illness that has not yet been understood or named.

 

Why is the undiagnosed population important to pay attention to?

Historically, investigating medical mysteries has led to some of the greatest breakthroughs in treatment. Currently, when most undiagnosed children or adults die, there is no label, category, or database where doctors can file their medical information for future analysis. This results in losing a vast and untapped resource that could hold the key for discovering new diseases, furthering our understanding of current diseases, and finding new treatments and cures. The undiagnosed population has the potential to play a critical role in medical history.

 

What is meant by “medical refugees”?

Just like other kinds of refugees, undiagnosed individuals and their loved ones may wander from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, seeking answers. Since the current medical system does not allocate reasonable compensation for the time and effort required to help these patients, many of the healthcare professionals or facilities that attempt to help undiagnosed patients are acting from the goodness of their hearts and for the love of medicine. Like the countries that take in refugees regardless of the risks or costs, these incredibly generous healthcare givers are usually the ones that are already overwhelmed by their patient populations. Sadly, a system that depends on “the kindness of strangers” will inevitably leave many undiagnosed adults and children high and dry.

 

Do undiagnosed people have any support?

Well-understood diseases, like cancer, often have charitable foundations raising money for research as well as patients, families and healthcare professionals that unite for mutual support. Being “undiagnosed” is not commonly considered to be an identity, but it should be. Simply creating a category called “undiagnosed” would give such individuals more of a sense of community and identity. Knowing you fit in fosters a sense of empowerment, purpose, and hope.  Helping people who are ill feel that others are supporting and advocating for them, and know that they exist, can make all the difference in the world.

 

What is it like to be undiagnosed?

Without a diagnosis, patients often will not qualify for needed benefits or receive proper and compassionate healthcare. All they can do is to exist from day to day, feeling like they are drowning in confusion, desperation, and frustration. Living in a constant state of medical uncertainty is terrifying. Will I be able to continue working? Will my child live long enough to use their college fund?  Many undiagnosed patients or parents of undiagnosed children are unable to plan for the next day, let alone any long-term future.

 

“It’s all in your head”

Without underestimating the complexities of differentiating medical and psychological conditions, a common thread that affects many undiagnosed patients is the tendency for doctors- sometimes out of frustration- to erroneously diagnose medically unexplained symptoms as psychiatric.  Aside from the demoralizing effect this can have upon patients and their loved ones, the chances of a patient becoming accurately diagnosed in such instances are diminished.  The words “it’s all in your head” often imply that the patient is to blame, causing their symptoms on purpose, or “faking.”  Parents of children who have symptoms that cannot be explained can be at risk of being accused of causing the illness or of being neglectful or abusive. This is an important issue that needs more emphasis in medical schools and healthcare institutions. 

    

 

 


© 2017 Undiagnosed Films LLC