12 March 2005
Documentarian Melody Gilbert follows the daily lives of three girls -- a 3-year-old Minnesotan, a 7-year-old Norwegian and a 10-year-old German -- who share an extremely rare disease: congenital insensitivity to pain. Despite seeming like a possible blessing - sufferers cannot feel when they are burning their hands, cutting their feet, even a broken bone - so they lack that warning sign by which sudden pain alerts the rest of us to the danger, causing us to jump back, let go of a hot pan, or otherwise protect ourselves from further harm. In this way, pain actually protects us, by functioning as a very effective warning signal. For children then, especially, lacking this signal becomes extremely perilous and requires just absolute constant protection and many injuries are made worse by not alerting the child to, for example, pull their hand back from a hot stove and so on.