Life or Death: Medical Mysteries

Genres: Science/Technology, Documentary Series



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About the Show

Life or Death: Medical Mysteries (known in the USA as Life or Death) is an American docu-drama television series which investigates the science behind extraordinary, real-life medical stories and reveals the unseen mysteries of the human body hidden beneath the skin.

The series originally aired in the USA on the Discovery Channel in 2007. There are six hour-long episodes in the series.

Life or Death: Medical Mysteries premiered in South Africa on DStv's Discovery Channel on Thursday 3 July 2008, at 21h00.


Mondays: 00h00


Life or Death: Medical Mysteries investigates the science behind extraordinary, real-life medical stories and reveals the unseen mysteries of the human body hidden beneath the skin.

This step-by-step, physiological narrative of patient rescues immerses viewers in the stories that began as events unfold outside the human body and progress inside.

Witness the story of the human body as we follow each patient with first-person interviews from those who were actually there to find out if the doctors' interventions would eventually kill or cure.

For our victims, time is not on their side; the doctors' best efforts may not allow them to see the problems that lie beneath the surface.

But viewers will: with the help of our biological CGI, we'll follow the journey of each patient during these life-and-death decisions. With skill and a bit of good luck, medical teams can sometimes solve the mystery illness right from the start.

But is the first and immediate diagnosis always right?


Episode 1

When the town of Walkerton, Ontario, is hit by a mysterious illness, hundreds are stricken by vomiting and diarrhoea. After a few days people begin to die, and the race to find the cause intensifies.

When the public health investigation finally uncovers the truth, their findings shock the nation.

Episode 2

When the congregation of the Lutheran church inundates the Cary Medical Center doctors they are baffled as to the cause of this outbreak of stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

When one of the patients slips into a coma and dies, and others become critically ill, doctors must rush to solve the mystery before more lives are lost.

Episode 3

When 22 year-old Shelley Cushing suddenly collapses while skiing, doctors can find nothing wrong with her, and suspect a 'complicated migraine'. She seems to recover, but days later collapses again.

Suddenly, Shelly is in a fight for her life while the doctors struggle to figure out what's happened to this seemingly healthy young woman.

Episode 4

A couple visiting New York both come down with what they think is influenza. But when they seek medical help the pair give doctors the shock of their careers.

Their mystery illness is something much more astonishing and dangerous than the flu, and could potentially affect the lives of millions of New Yorkers.

Episode 5

Eight year-old Joshua Wooten is a real mystery. When his mother takes him to the emergency room after finding him collapsed on the floor, doctors discover that his blood oxygen level is just half of what it should be; yet he shows no obvious signs of disease.

As young Josh's condition deteriorates, doctors desperate for a diagnosis seek help from the world medical community.

Episode 6

When 23 year-old Sebastian Hitzig is found collapsed, with blood oozing from his nose and ears, doctors are faced with a number of deadly possibilities. But as they attempt to narrow these down, Sebastian's condition begins to rapidly deteriorate.

The mystery behind the cause of his sudden sickness eventually leads to a seemingly trivial incident that happened six months earlier, and which the Hitzig family had completely forgotten about.


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