Needle in a Haystack is a third season episode of House which first aired on February 6, 2007.
While making out with his girlfriend, a teenage boy starts having trouble breathing.
House arrives at work to find someone else has been assigned his handicapped parking spot. He's been moved just across the parking aisle.
Foreman tells House about the patient, but House is obsessed about his parking spot. However, House's attention is gained when Foreman tells him the young man has a pleural effusion. Chase thinks it is drugs.
House goes to confront a wheelchair bound doctor about his parking space. She is ready for him. They have an argument. She refuses to back down.
Foreman can't reach the patient's parents. Foreman can't treat him until he gets parental consent. The patient starts having more trouble breathing. Foreman agrees to give him the tests. He finds the patient knows a lot about medicine - he's been studying independently. Neither one can find bleeding in his lungs, which is usually what causes an effusion.
Chase and Cameron go to the patient's home. However, after finding a couple making love in the bedroom, they find out that they are in the wrong house. They go to confront the patient, who says they gave him the right address. The patient's girlfriend finally tells the team he is Romani (a gypsy), and his parents are out of town. The patient refuses to let them go to his house for cultural reasons.
Meanwhile, House is confronting Cuddy about his parking space. Cuddy is firm - the wheelchair bound doctor needs the space more. They make a bet - Cuddy will give House back his space if he spends a week in a wheelchair.
House's team finds him in the wheelchair. Cameron is aghast for the reason. Foreman thinks it is a deep-vein thrombosis for spending time in the back of a truck. House orders blood thinners so the small leak of blood will become a large one they can find. However, before they start the diagnostic procedure, he starts having pain in his stomach. They go ahead with the procedure, which shows that blood flow to the liver is totally blocked.
The liver has a total blockage of the vein. House thinks a mass has formed blocking the vein.
House is having fun in his wheelchair, and manages to get both himself and the wheelchair into his car with ease. Foreman thinks it is Wegner's disease and he proposes a liver biopsy. However, House recommends immediate treatment before the liver dies.
Foreman finds the patient with his parents eating their food and wearing the clothes they bought. Foreman argues with the parents about controlling the patient's environment.
House finds Wilson in the washroom. Wilson is not on House's side about the parking spot.
Meanwhile the parents are arguing with the patient's girlfriend. Foreman tries to intervene, but the patient starts suffering abdominal bleeding.
They discuss why he had a perforated bladder. Wegner's would explain the bleeding, but not why the patient isn't getting better. They would have seen cancer. House suggests immune modulation would help, but it's experimental. However, the parents refuse consent because their people have been experimented upon. Foreman and the parents argue whether blacks or gypsies are more discriminated against. However, the parents still refuse treatment.
House and Foreman have a discussion about the case, while he confronts the wheelchair patient in the hall. She agrees with House about how nice Cuddy's breasts are, but House is resistant.
Foreman manages to clear the room of the patient's relatives and explains the risks of the experimental treatment. The patient agrees to the treatment and to not tell his parents. However, before he can start, he starts having more abdominal pain.
They rush the patient to surgery. They can't find anything wrong apart from some internal bleeding which is soon fixed. The granuloma turned out to be scar tissue. House wants them to run his bowel, but the surgeon wants to close. House gets out of his wheelchair to run the bowel himself. House can't find anything wrong either. The patient's blood pressure starts to drop. House finally lets them close the patient. The patient doesn't have Wegner's and House admits the experimental treatment would have hurt the patient.
The team can't find a source for the symptoms. The patient is both bleeding and clotting. House recommends a colonoscopy despite the fact the patient's bowel was clear, to try to keep ahead of the symptoms.
Wilson tells House his spending the week in a wheelchair for nothing. House makes a deliberate ethnic slur in front of the parents to distract them. Meanwhile, Chase and Foreman do the colonoscopy and find something in the colon - a toothpick. The patient swallowed it. Usually, the wood from a toothpick will pass through the body. However, during the make-out session, the contortions allowed it to pierce the stomach and pass through the rest of the organs. They couldn't find it in radiology because its the same density as flesh. Foreman asks the patient if he wants an internship, but he turns it down - he wants to be with his family. He notes that although Foreman is a great doctor, he has no relationships.
Cuddy tells House he lost - he got out of his wheelchair to run the patient's bowel. House notes he was only out of the chair for two minutes in a week. He accuses Cuddy of not keeping her word. House then runs into Wilson and asks how Cuddy looks - he says she looks guilty and House says that the space is now his.
The patient goes home with his family. Foreman goes home alone. House gets his parking space back.
A young mother presents a son who says his throat hurts. She thinks he's faking it. She gave him a choice - school or doctor. House can't find anything wrong. He threatens to stick him with a syringe filled with saline. The mother agrees to take him out of the clinic.
- House learns that his parking space has been given to J. Whitner, a new researcher. When he confronts her, the two soon develop a fierce rivalry.
- House and Cuddy clash over the space.
- In an attempt to get his space back, House abandons his cane for a wheelchair, which he uses for one week.
- It's revealed that Steve Lipper, the team's current patient is very smart in terms of medical knowledge, but his parents are very strict Romani.
- House eventually wins the bet and reclaims his old parking spot.
The song playing over the last few closing scenes is In the Waiting Line by Zero 7.
In Real Life
In 1941, author Sherwood Anderson died mysteriously at the age of 64 while heading to South America by ship. After a long investigation, his death was traced to peritonitis caused by a toothpick that had perforated his large intestine. The toothpick was almost certainly swallowed when he gulped down a martini containing olives held together by the toothpick while already intoxicated.
One Day, One Room
Needle in a Haystack