- House: "Thank goodness you were here to save all those lives!"
- Vogler: "The Board’s meeting again this evening. Why don’t you settle down. Play some GameBoy. Why don’t you watch your soap? I hear they’re firing the handsome doctor today, oh that should be a good one."
- ―Babies & Bathwater
Babies & Bathwater is a 1st season episode of House which first aired on May 10, 2005. House quickly diagnoses a pregnant woman, but she resists treatment because of the risk to her unborn baby. When House tries to bend the rules to get her the best treatment available, he finds Vogler standing in his way. Finally, the dispute between them comes down to a showdown before the Board and Wilson gets caught in the crossfire. However, when House once again pulls off the impossible, Cuddy has to decide whether to risk her own career.
This is the last episode to feature Edward Vogler in the series, making this episode the last one of the "Vogler arc".
A pregnant woman, Naomi, is driving her drunk husband home when she temporarily blacks out and they narrowly escape a collision. A policeman pulls them over and, mistakenly suspecting that she is also intoxicated, tells the wife to step out of the car to undergo a sobriety test. When she walks to the back of the car, Naomi collapses in the street.
In the following scene, House is "diagnosing" Vogler with a stage four cancer when he hears Foreman's voice—House has been dreaming—and startles awake. House is hiding from Vogler. Foreman introduces Naomi's case and explains that she has lost coordination but has normal blood pressure, to which House responds that it might be an autoimmune disease. House then breaks the news that Cameron has quit. Foreman and Chase think Cameron's quitting is House's fault, and they have a spirited disagreement about what they should do about it.
Chase and Foreman visit Naomi to offer reassurance, but she suddenly begins choking on a morsel of soft pear she was eating. When they stabilizer her, she frantically tells them she can't swallow.
Vogler finally catches House in the diagnostics office. House announces that he has fired Cameron, hoping this information will atone for the embarrassing remarks House made during a speech Vogler bullied him into giving (see previous episode). Vogler menacingly demands House's resignation as well as a public apology, and threatens to "destroy" him if he refuses.
As the team discusses Naomi's case, House expresses regret at letting Cameron go (apparently because she always knows where the sugar for the coffee is kept). He also wonders why the patient choked on soft food. At this point Wilson tells House that there is an imminent board meeting to revoke House‘s tenure. Wilson reminds him that even though House cannot be dismissed without unanimous board consent, the terms of House's contract allow for much wiggle room and Vogler is eager to exploit it.
On House's advice, Foreman & Chase check Naomi's eyelids, and they also discover that her esophagus is swelling. Over her objections (due to pregnancy) they must order x-rays, and this in turn reveals a suspicious mass pressing against her esophagus. The mass is small cell lung cancer and is inoperable and aggressive. Her other symptoms are the result of paraneoplastic syndrome. The team wants to use radiation treatment and chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy will endanger the baby's life so she will have to have a Cesearean section before they start treatment. The baby is at only 28 weeks' gestation and has at best an 80% chance of surviving a Cesarean section. Naomi pleads to delay cancer treatment even one more week, to improve the baby's chances to 90%, but the team strongly objects because her form of cancer is highly aggressive and should be treated immediately. Naomi's husband is highly grieved at the prospect of losing his unborn child but is even more desperate for his wife's survival. However, she refused the treatment.
At the board meeting, Vogler begins itemizing the "indiscretions" in House's record. Dr. Simpson tells him that everyone has indiscretions, but Vogler reminds him that these are just the ones in the last three months. Wilson tries to defend House, and Vogler counters with the threat that he will leave with his $100 million dollar donation if House doesn't go. He calls for a vote. Everyone but Wilson votes in favor of revoking House‘s tenure, and as the vote needs to be unanimous, the motion fails. Glaring at Wilson, Vogler calls for another vote—this time to remove Wilson from the board. Vogler sends Wilson out of the room.
House isn't happy with Naomi's decision to delay treatment and seeks a way to increase her odds. Meanwhile he's concerned with Wilson's whereabouts because they need an oncology consult.
When House finds Wilson, he reveals he's been fired from the board for voting against dismissing House, and House will most likely be fired the next day when they can reconsider the motion. Wilson says he resigned his job because otherwise he probably would lose his career. He agrees to try to find some drugs from Vogler's clinical trials to help Naomi.
House finds Cuddy with a hemorrhoid patient and confronts her about letting Vogler fire Wilson. Cuddy is focused on the money Vogler is giving to the hospital and says that's more important than House - he's just not worth one hundred million dollars.
House goes to the doctor in charge of the clinical trial and tells him the patient can start in two days. He prepares to give Naomi a Cesarean section so she can get into the program in two days, infuriating his remaining team because not only is he risking the patient's life, he is breaking the clinical trial's protocol. Naomi remains opposed to having the Cesarean section and starts arguing with her husband, who agrees with House. House sends the husband out of the room and asks Naomi about her incontinence. He tells her he also knows she has had a child before, and that her husband doesn‘t know. She admits she was pregnant at 18 and got married, but her child had infantile Alexander's disease and died before the age of two. She left her husband and started a new life. House tells her to get over the tragedy and save her own life, and that she's not a hero just because she wants to sacrifice herself for this baby. She agrees to the Cesarean section.
They anesthetize the patient for surgery, but are interrupted: Vogler has called off the surgery. A heated exchange between House and Vogler ensues, Vogler alleging that House has broken protocol; consequently the patient's trial participation has been rescinded. He complacently confirms to House that he's going to get fired later that day anyway.
The team informs Naomi that she can still start the clinical trial in 30 days, but as they discuss her options she develops respiratory distress from a pulmonary embolism. They tell the husband that she must have surgery for this embolism but only a Cesarean section can preserve the baby from potential brain damage. However, the C-section will kill Naomi in her deteriorated state. The husband's anxiety about his wife again supersedes her pregnancy and he forbids the Cesarean section but wants the embolism treated.
They manage to remove the embolism but Naomi's blood pressure suddenly drops, and House discovers there is massive irreversible bleeding into her abdomen. House tells them to stabilize the patient and goes to talk to the husband. House tells him she has had a trauma and there is nothing they can do to save her, but the husband has to permit the C-section or the baby dies as well. He reminds him that the decision is easy - Naomi is going to die either way, but he can still save the baby. The husband finally agrees. Although the patient dies, they manage to deliver the baby and get it breathing despite the premature birth.
The board meets again on the motion to fire House. Vogler calls for a new vote to revoke House‘s tenure, but this time Cuddy, just informed by House of the fate of Naomi’s baby and the clinic patient, opposes the motion. Cuddy and Vogler start arguing about who is more out of control - House or Vogler. Vogler calls for another vote to remove Cuddy from the board. Before they vote, Cuddy tells the board to vote with their conscience. But she also acknowledges a need for medical professionals not to feel "owned" by businesses: if they vote to keep Vogler and his money, he will own them, and their decision to vote her off the board will be the last "free" decision they'll ever make under Vogler. She leaves the room.
The board votes to retain Cuddy – Wilson is reinstated and Vogler is dismissed from the board, with Cuddy voting to dismiss Vogler. The team celebrates, although Cuddy isn't too happy about the lost $100,000,000 and the good that could have been done with it. She reminds House that none of this would have happened if he just could have tried to get along with Vogler.
House tells parents Joel and Rachel their baby has pneumonia and is malnourished and not gaining enough weight. The parents are vegans and House feels the baby isn't getting enough fat and protein. He admits the baby.
The baby starts improving on antibiotics and House gets ready to send them home, but the police and a social worker come in to arrest the parents. House goes to Cuddy to say Vogler was responsible, but Cuddy said she did it to protect House from Vogler so he won't have an excuse to get rid of him. House is furious - the parents were stupid, not neglectful.
The parents get bailed out and come to House and tell him that they followed the advice of the mother's uncle, a college edudated nutritionist. House orders a CT Scan of the baby.
Just before Cuddy goes to the board meeting, House goes to Cuddy with the results of the scan - the baby wasn't malnourished, it has a problem with its thymus gland. Cuddy agrees to have the charges withdrawn and House gives her instructions on how to treat the baby, assuming he won't be around to do it.
- Chase and Foreman learn that Cameron resigned from the team.
- Vogler tries to get House fired and his tenure revoked but the vote is defeated.
- Wilson is dismissed from the Board when he supports House and agrees to resign from his job. However, in the end, he is soon rehired and gets his job back once again.
- When Cuddy supports House on the second vote, Vogler tries to have her removed from the board, but fails. Vogler is voted off the Board instead.
Trivia & Cultural References
- Although credited, Jennifer Morrison does not appear in this episode.
- The title of the episode is from the saying “Throwing out the baby with the bathwater”, a metaphor for throwing out the useful just to get rid of the useless. As a result, the title often can't be used at all in other languages. In Spanish, it is alternatively titled "Prioridades" (Priorities), "Cuestión de muerte o muerte" (A Death or Death Issue - a play on A Life or Death Issue) and "Morir por amor" (Dying for Love).
- Quisling is a reference to Vidkun Quisling, who ruled Norway under the authority of the Nazis when the country was occupied by the Germans during World War II. He was executed for high treason after the war. The name is now synonymous for “traitor” or “collaborator”.
- The outcome of the battle with Vogler has been cited as an example of the As Long As There Is One Man trope. Here in turn, House, Wilson and Cuddy stand alone against Vogler until Cuddy finally vanquishes him.
Zebra Factor 1/10
Small-cell lung cancer is a frequent diagnosis, and is quite common in the American population, even among the young and non-smokers.
- Jesse Spencer as Dr. Robert Chase
- Jennifer Morrison as Dr. Allison Cameron (Credit Only)
- Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. James Wilson
- Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
- Omar Epps as Dr. Eric Foreman
- Lisa Edelstein as Dr. Lisa Cuddy
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