PARK CITY, Utah—June 3, 2014—Millions of people worldwide live everyday with perplexing, undiagnosed illnesses that remain a mystery to their doctors. For the first time ever, this issue is the subject of a feature-length documentary titled Undiagnosed: Medical Refugees. From the position of being an undiagnosed patient and clinician, the film’s Creator and Co-director Dr. Katia Moritz gives the audience a personal perspective of the diagnostic odyssey and the impact of the undiagnosed population on the future of medicine.
The filmmakers must raise $150,000 by June 18, 2014 to meet the upcoming Sundance Film Festival submission deadline via their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. “The success of the Kickstarter campaign depends on it going viral. We need people to make any size donation and spread the word,” said Undiagnosed: Medical Refugees Producer Crystal Shearman.
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.
While revealing the strength of the human spirit, the powerful stories told through interviews with doctors, medical administrators, and those families afflicted with perplexing illnesses create needed awareness of this much ignored tragedy. The documentary also sheds light on solutions including the vision of a database to store all undiagnosed cases. This essential technology tool would globally connect doctors and patients to other undiagnosed cases showing similar symptoms, thereby sharing treatment knowledge and expediting diagnosis. Moritz points out, “Much more than a movie, Undiagnosed: Medical Refugees addresses the missed opportunity to collect valuable data that could lead to new diagnoses and new treatments that would benefit all
The medical documentary was featured at the recent Future in Review 2014 technology conference as part of the “Documentaries That Change the World” presentation, leaving a lasting impression on Internet pioneer Vinton G. Cerf. Likening the film’s mission to the dawn of the Internet and the prolific information sharing impact that resulted throughout the world, Cerf sees the same life-changing potential in the documentary’s exploration of federated information databases.
“This purposeful project will enable exploration of unexplored and critical areas of healthcare,” said Cerf. “We are not that far away from a tipping point if it becomes possible to analyze aggregated and anonymized information about people’s physical and symptomatic conditions. I am excited about this movie and the potential for data that can move the undiagnosed demographic closer to hope and cure.”
To watch the powerful movie trailer and donate to the Undiagnosed: Medical Refugees Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, visit www.UndiagnosedFilm.com. Click to Tweet @UndiagnosedFilm (#undiagnosedfilm, #raredisease); follow on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/undiagnosedfilm.