For years, fans were in awe on the medical mystery show House and now Netflix has brought the show that inspired the iconic Hugh Laurie series to life!

Diagnosis stems from Dr Lisa Sanders’ New York Times column where she crowdsources diagnoses for rare conditions. And since the series dropped to the streaming service on Friday, August 16th, it has amazed viewers with its recognition of everything from Rasmussen’s encephalitis and Rumination syndrome to Gulf War illness.

The final episode of the series brought the bizarre cases of Joe and Ann to the fore. Both patients are paralysed for unknown reasons.

So what happened with Joe on Diagnosis? And how is he doing now?

Screenshot: Diagnosis S1 E7 – Netflix

Meet Joe Piliero

Joe is a 61-year-old from Fairfax, Connecticut who before his illness was the local dentist. He lives with his wife Linda Piliero and their two daughters Liz and Joanna.

In 2016 Joe started to suffer from pins and needles in his feet and shins, which then in 2017 developed into numbness in the knees and progressed up to full-blown paraplegia.

As he has become paraplegic, Joe now also suffers from incontinence.

And while this might sound like enough of a problem, as we learn in the Diagnosis episode, Joe also has a rare, progressive and incurable blood cancer called Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia which he was diagnosed with fifteen years prior.

What happened to Joe on Diagnosis?

Joe had already had tests for what were the three initial diagnoses; that of an autoimmune disease, Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis. All three turned out to be negative.

When Dr Sanders began her crowdsourcing, she also took into consideration that the paralysis could be in some ways linked to the blood cancer. Particularly as Joe began to regain sensation in his toes.

The two main diagnoses that returned from the crowdsourcing was that of CIDP (Guillain-Barre) or a side effect of the Ibrutinib, the drug Joe was taking for his cancer.

As Lisa explains: CIPD is “a neurologic disorder caused by an injury to the protective coating that surrounds nerves as they go from the brain to the periphery.” But Joe’s doctors had already ruled out CIPD and Guillain-Barre.

Signs then started pointing towards Ibrutinib.

Joe comes off Ibrutinib

Joe started Ibrutinib as part of a clinical trial to control his cancer and while it was extremely successful in helping him with one problem, it may be the root of another.

While undergoing tests on his paralysis, Joe suffered from a blood clot which put him on death’s door. And so he had to come off of Ibrutinib.

Since he was taken off the medication and started regaining sensation in his toes, it seemed a logical link that his condition was related.

Joe said in the episode: “Having this crowd response about the side effects of Ibrutinib… I’m hopeful.”

Joe is coming off of the drug and is hopeful that he will start regaining more sensation in his legs. But at the present, Joe still remains in a wheelchair.

Posted by Linda Piliero on Tuesday, 13 August 2019