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The Diagnosis That Is Overused On The Good Doctor According To Fans

On ABC's "The Good Doctor," Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) and the other surgeons and residents at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital must regularly deal with challenging medical situations and emergencies. This can range from the injured passengers of a crashed wedding bus in Season 1's "Not Fake" to the Season 3 episode where Shaun treats a child born without a developed larynx.

Thanks to their training and expertise, the surgeons are usually equipped to handle difficult cases. Shaun's autism, including his ability to hyperfocus and notice small details, gives him a unique perspective, allowing him to perceive what the other residents don't. However, treating patients who can succumb to serious illnesses and bodily damage can exact a serious emotional toll, as well. We see this when Claire (Antonia Thomas) and Jared (Chuku Modu) comfort one another after both of their patients die in "22 Steps."

Many of the maladies featured on the show are difficult to sort out, even for seasoned medical professionals, but some Redditors feel that "The Good Doctor" uses one diagnosis far too often.

Cancer is a frequent illness on The Good Doctor

A meme on "The Good Doctor" subreddit, posted by u/The___Husky, struck a chord with fans when it mocked the show's tendency to overuse cancer as a medical diagnosis. The photo hilariously depicts the characters declaring "He has cancer!" and "She has cancer!" as a root cause of health issues over and over. It's not far off from the show's storytelling, as even regular character Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) was diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of Season 1. One comment from u/Superstar328 joked, "At least one cancer patient per episode usally unless it's the finale."

However, when u/camilopezo mused that the diagnosis often comes during a routine checkup, u/TheGoodMurphy did defend the show as having some basis in real-life situations. They wrote, "people have had checkups and found out they have cancer. I don't know anyone personally but you don't always so [sic] symptoms. Ot [sic] they have other medical issues." Cancer is in fact a frequent medical problem in the United States, with a 2017 poll suggesting 54% of Americans have been diagnosed with the disease or know someone in the family who has (via CBS News).

An online meme from another hit medical drama resurfaced

The post actually inspired multiple comments about another medical drama that was created by "The Good Doctor" developer and executive producer David Shore. In the thread about the abundance of cancer diagnoses on the series, u/Digital3Duke replied to the meme by writing, "At least it's not Lupus." This is a callback to the Fox series "House," which focused on the irascible Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) who has a knack for diagnosing particularly tricky medical problems. One running gag from the series is that the patient's illness is never the autoimmune disease lupus. This is because lupus is hard to identify and remedy, even if there have been breakthroughs in treatment in recent years (via The Conversation).

"It's not lupus" became an online meme thanks to the popularity of the show and the frequency of the phrase, even if House did finally get to diagnose someone with the disease in Season 4. So, when the meme about "The Good Doctor" using cancer as a medical problem surfaced, naturally Redditors who are also fans of "House" seized the chance to comment on the comparison. As u/Aimjock wrote, "Hey, it could be worse. It could be lupus."