House Watch: Score One for the Team

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House has had a new bar built for himself in the conference room, and over a Martini, he orders the Team to cut out the infected part of Harris’ liver and then, if enough is left to keep him alive, treat him with the antibiotics. Adams and Chase do a late-night CT scan of Harris’ liver to find the infected part, but to their astonishment, they see that the liver is actually healing itself. House thinks this means Harris was having an allergic reaction that’s finally clearing up. Maybe he was allergic to something Miss Cedarville was wearing? Adams and Chase examine her to try to find out. Meanwhile, Park and Taub examine Harris, whose skin has a strong reaction to a wheat-allergy swab but whose blood cells show no signs of the allergy. Still, the Team believes he must have some kind of allergy, so they start him on steroids. Big mistake: Patient gets a lot worse when an excruciating new symptom appears—his skin starts to peel off in large pieces.

Park breaks the silence at the next DDX by asking a question that could have been asked in dozens of previous differentials on House M.D.: “Is everyone trying to think of an answer, or is everyone afraid to say what the answer is?”

“I take it you’re in the latter category,” says House, and he’s right: Park thinks Harris has Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a skin reaction to medication and infection that, in Harris’ case, would be so advanced after the steroids that he will likely die. “Case closed,” says House. “You should go home and get some sleep.”

But Chase stays with Harris, who says he has another confession: he murdered four or five people. Chase finds this confession weird, and he diagnoses a neurological condition: an aneurysm that, as it grows larger, causes Harris to confess to more and more. He even admits to stealing one of Chase’s shoes, which would have been impossible considering his physical incapacitation. Park points out that a neurological condition wouldn’t cause Harris’ skin to fall off; House then concludes the aneurysm can’t be the diagnosis but just another symptom. Add all the symptoms together, and he comes up with the Final Diagnosis: Kawasaki disease, which involves inflamed blood vessels. Taub points out that the disease almost always presents in Asian children, but House reasons that Harris got it from the motel’s carpet cleaner when he was having sex with Miss Cedarville.

The treatment is fairly simple, and after Harris improves, he wife shows up. She knows that he’s been confessing to crimes he never committed, but now—like so many Patients before—lies: he tells her he has never cheated on her.

The episode ends with House unveiling a new toy he’s bought: an automatic door that, with a click, will slide up from the conference room to reveal Wilson’s office. Which is good news for the show, since the House-Wilson scenes are often the best parts.

My diagnosis: a B-minus episode. Having Chase and Taub back was like seeing old friends again, but I still don’t find Foreman convincing as dean of medicine. Lisa Edelstein’s departure has hurt the show tremendously, but at least last night it started to get its footing again.

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