From the Nominator
This story is about physicians and patients at the Stanford Center for Undiagnosed Diseases, which is one of a dozen sites that make up the innovative nationwide Undiagnosed Diseases Network. The UDN is the last stop for patients and families whose mysterious medical symptoms have launched them on anguishing diagnostic odysseys, sometimes for years. It brings cutting-edge expertise and diagnostics to bear on some of the most complex, inexplicable disorders facing medicine today, resulting in the furthering of research, the development of treatments, the formation of rare-disease communities, and the relief that comes from having greater certainty and knowledge about one's or one's child's condition. In the story, readers meet four children and their families, as well as three Stanford physicians who care for them, as they finally get some answers—or, in one case, don't.
From the Judges
This story is a great example of the power of focusing on people who are not affiliated with the university, but who are beneficiaries of its work. At its core, this is a story about the life-changing work being done by Stanford doctors and scientists with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. But really the story is about the lonely and painful journey many families experience when doctors are unable to diagnose their children, and, ultimately, the sense of relief and community when UDN is able to discover the answer. It's tricky to identify patients willing to tell their stories, and the writer succeed in gaining their trust and expressing their stories in very compelling ways.