Big Baby
January 26, 2009
Episode Number
5.13 Rating
Guest Star(s)
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
House: "Is Wilson going to be in trouble?"
Cuddy: "For betraying my trust in a vulnerable time? No! Why would that bother me?"
House: "He was worried. You made a bad choice. It's not a big deal. It seems like crap, you probably feel like crap, but it’s not. Legally, you haven’t adopted her yet, there’s no obligations, no strings, it can be undone tomorrow. Emotionally, you'll feel guilty for a while, but the kid... she won't even know you existed."
— Big Baby

Big Baby is a fifth season episode of House which first aired on January 26, 2009.

When Cuddy decides to spend more time caring for her baby, she hands some of her day-to-day responsibilities to Cameron. One of them is supervising House, whose patient is a nice Special Education teacher who collapsed in class. House doesn't think her niceness is a good thing. Meanwhile, Foreman must make a critical decision regarding Thirteen's participation in the Huntington's drug trial.


A special needs teacher suddenly starts bleeding from her mouth and collapses on the floor.

Cameron brings the teacher's file to House and simultaneously tells him that she's now Cuddy's deputy when Cuddy is not there.

The patient is a 29 year old special education teacher. Foreman is bemused that Cameron now has authority over House. When Foreman and Thirteen start disagreeing over the diagnosis, House soon guesses that they are having a relationship. They confirm it. House orders a bleeding time test.

Kutner and Thirteen do the test and hear about the patient's work. They tell her to answer House's questions with simple yes or no responses. The test shows that the patient’s blood isn’t clotting properly

Wilson is visiting Cuddy and her baby. Cuddy is worried she's not attaching emotionally to the baby. However, she assures Wilson she is doing everything the baby needs.

The patient's platelets are misshapen, which explains why the blood isn't clotting properly. House wants to do total body irradiation, but Kutner tells him that he's being premature. House goes to Cameron to get permission. Surprisingly, Cameron agrees. House then requests oral sex. He goes back to the team and tells them he's not going to do the irradiation - it was a test of Cameron. However, now if he doesn't do it, he looks manipulative. Thirteen suggests they merely take the patient down to the radiation lab, but don’t give her radiation. House agrees orders a double dose of methotrexate and the addition of prednisone.

Foreman talks to Chase about Thirteen being on the placebo. He wants to put her on the real drug. Chase tells him he's being an idiot.

Taub and Thirteen do a fake radiological procedure on the patient. However, when the patient gets up for a bathroom break, she collapses and goes into cardiac arrest. They manage to get her heart beating again, but her collapse shows it isn’t what they thought it was.

They can't find any problem with her heart. House wants to know why she wanted to get up to urinate during a procedure. Thirteen think it might be agglutination from exposure to low temperatures. House orders an ice bath, but they need Cameron‘s approval because of the danger of another cardiac arrest.

Cuddy confronts Cameron about approving the irradiation. Cameron agreed because House was bluffing and it was the only way to keep him under control. House comes in and lets Cuddy know that Wilson told him about her doubts about the baby and seeks approval from Cameron for the ice bath. House comes back and reports to the team that Cameron only approved the cold water bath after they do a blood test to confirm. Foreman thinks Cameron is playing with House.

Kutner goes to draw blood and finds one of the patient's autistic students and his mother there. Kutner lets them stay if they are discreet.

Thirteen thinks she’s on the real Huntington’s drug because her test results are higher. The blood test is positive and they plan the ice bath.

Foreman goes to see Cameron about Thirteen. The minute he walks in she tells him not to be an idiot.

Cameron tells House to be present during the ice bath. The patient is suffering during the bath, but she keeps talking about her job and how she changed her career plans after visiting a special ed class. The patient breezes through the ice bath test, but House thinks she has brain damage because she told a story about mixing up room numbers.

House points to the patient's inability to remember to urinate before a procedure and mixing up numbers is a sign of a specific type of brain damage related to multiple sclerosis. Foreman thinks House thinks the patient has brain damage because she’s so nice and altruistic. Kutner wants to an ERCP before trying a brain biopsy because he thinks it is a pancreatic tumor. Kutner and House go to Cameron to argue about it. Cameron agrees it is a brain problem, but she tells House to do an MRI to confirm before doing a brain biopsy. House is still incensed and tries to force Cameron to make a definitive decision, but she insists on the MRI.

Cuddy goes to Wilson about House saying she should give the baby back. She doesn't really want to go home with the baby.

The MRI is clean. House orders the ERCP to check the patient's pancreas.

Foreman talks to House about switching Thirteen from the placebo. House points out that he's balancing a few better years for Thirteen at the risk of his medical career. Foreman reluctantly agrees. However, as Foreman leaves, House points out that people do stupid things for the people they love.

The ERCP is normal, but they spot a problem in the patient’s lungs. The patient's blood oxygen level starts to drop as her lungs deteriorate, showing that House was probably right about multiple sclerosis.

However, House agrees that the lack of indication on the MRI points to something other than multiple sclerosis. He wants to remove the patient's skull and do a nerve conduction study. Kutner objects and goes to do an endoscopic ultrasound to see if he can‘t find the pancreatic tumor. House tries to get permission from Cameron, who already knows he wants to cut off the patient‘s skull, but she wants some indication that he's right. House says that Cuddy will be impressed, but the patient will probably be dead within a week.

Foreman and Thirteen do an environmental scan of the classroom. Thirteen says she wants children.

Wilson brings a gift to Cuddy - a picture of her baby as she will appear at age 18. He tells her that although it may seem pointless now, there are lots of other things a parent can do. When Cuddy offers to pay for the picture, Wilson admits it's the one that came with the frame.

House tries to fake a viral infection to get Cameron to approve the procedure to remove the skull, but she sees through it. Kutner couldn't find anything wrong with the pancreas. Cameron finally agrees. Kutner can't believe Cameron said yes, and he still has theories.

They start the procedure with the patient being conscious throughout. Kutner calls Cuddy and Cuddy calls to try to stop the procedure by phone, but Cameron is assisting. Cuddy's baby starts crying and the patient starts getting annoyed. The patient's blood pressure starts to drop. House wants to know why the baby's crying is the only thing that annoys the patient. Cameron goes to stop the procedure. Cuddy pleads with the baby to stop crying and she quickly does. The patient calms down too.

Kutner wants to remove the patient's spleen, but they can't put her under anesthesia until the previous anesthetic clears. The patient’s blood pressure is still low. House wonders the patient was so annoyed about the crying baby when nothing else seems to annoy her. In addition, the lower blood pressure should have made her lightheaded, not annoyed.

Cuddy comes in to tell House she connected with the baby. She hands the baby over to him to hold and the baby spits on him. House talks about the evolutionary imperatives for babies and suddenly thinks of something. House goes in to see the patient and tells her she has a patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect which makes her calmer when her blood pressure rises and upset when her blood pressure drops. He confirms with ultrasound. It explains her bleeding and why the left side of her brain seems to lack blood at times. It can be treated with surgery.

Cameron goes to visit Cuddy and the baby. Cuddy tells her how well she did, but Cameron asks to be relieved of her supervisory duties over House. She says she is too ready to say yes to House, and anyone else who supervises him would say no. Cuddy appears to be the only one who can balance House’s craziness.

The patient's autistic student visits and spills stuff on her, but she doesn't get upset. House watches this interaction and possibly is challenged that the teacher’s niceness is not related to her physical condition.

Foreman switches out Thirteen's placebo with the active drug.

Cuddy deals with her life as a busy parent, leaving the baby even when she's crying.

Major Events Edit

  • Foreman and Thirteen confirm that they‘re dating.
  • Cameron takes over some of Cuddy's duties, one of which involves supervising House, but it only lasts for one case.
  • Cuddy goes back to work after leaving Rachel with a nanny.

Zebra Factor 3/10Edit

Patent ductus arteriosus is not terribly uncommon. It happens in about 1 out of every 2,000 people. However, in most cases, the defect is diagnosed in childhood. Rarely does a person live into adulthood without showing the obvious symptoms of the condition.

End Credits Message Edit

Male Announcer: The clock is ticking on Jack Bauer. A new 24 is next.

Trivia & Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • House’s reference to his mentor “Old Ben” is Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. Luke Skywalker calls Obi-Wan “Old Ben” as that’s the name he went by while Luke was growing up.
  • There is no complete left/right brain separation. Some functions localise to a single hemisphere, some do not localise. In either case, a massive amount of interconnectedness is present.[1]

Previous episode:

Big Baby
Next episode:
The Greater Good