- House: "You asked me how I’d hurt my leg. I had a blood clot, and the muscle was dying. I had all these doctors telling me I should amputate and I said no, and they did this very risky operation. I almost died."
- Hanna: "But you saved your leg."
- House: "I wish I hadn’t. They cut out a chunk of muscle about the size of my fist, and they left me with this mutilated, useless thing. I’m in pain. Every day. And it changed me. Made me a harder person. A worse person. And now, now I’m alone. You don’t wanna be like me. You’ve got a husband who loves you, you have friends, you can start a family. You have a life. And this; this is just a leg"
- — Help Me
Help Me is a 6th season episode of House which was first aired on May 17, 2010.
Cuddy, House and members of the team join forces with a search-and-rescue team to provide much-needed medical attention at the scene of a crane collapse. However, when House finds a woman with her leg pinned by debris, he refuses to let them perform an amputation to allow her to be removed despite the danger of a further collapse. At the same time, House has to deal with his team over the phone about the crane operator that fell unconscious because he believes the man has an underlying condition. In the end, House has to face not only the consequences of the treatment of his patients, but three of his own demons - his leg, his Vicodin, and Cuddy.
The episode was the overwhelming winner of the House Facebook group's poll for favorite episode which was completed in April, 2012. It garnered 49,886 votes among twenty-five contenders with the next nearest episode, Now What?, only gaining 12,445 votes.
House finally gives Cuddy the copy of her great-grandfather's book he bought years ago. However, Cuddy is rushing to the scene of a crane collapse to render medical aid. House soon follows on his motorcycle and meets up with her. The scene is chaos with rubble all around and emergency medical personnel all over the site.
House starts examining some of the trauma victims. He finds one patient with a skull fracture, but her Glasgow coma score is 11 - she needs immediate treatment. However, House notices the next patient has atheroslerotic emboli - although his wounds aren't serious, he will never survive surgery. He wants Cuddy to give him lower priority, but she asks if it isn't that his shoes were just too tight. However, he points out the patient shows signs of being a heavy smoker - he's only going to waste an ambulance, a surgeon and an ICU bed. Cuddy agrees.
The crane operator has survived and tells the rescue team that he fell asleep moving the load. However, House examines him and finds caffeine pills on him. The operator also says he drank coffee although he usually doesn't - he was working on little sleep. House figures that the operator did not fall asleep due to fatigue but passed out due to a neurological disorder. House wants to go back to the hospital and get his team together, but Cuddy says that House can't go - Foreman and the rest of the team have to treat the operator themselves.
The hospital is flooded with trauma patients. Wilson is in the emergency room treating patients when House calls. After talking to Wilson about Cuddy‘s reaction to his gift, he hears tapping nearby. He goes to investigate and hears more tapping. He calls for help. The emergency personnel come to help, but they can't hear anything. House insists he heard something, but the emergency personnel are too busy to look in the area. House starts tapping some of the pipes and tracing them. He starts poking around and finally crawls under some rubble. He calls out and goes in further. He crawls in even further and starts investigating. He finally finds a panel which he knocks out. There is a larger void and he continues forward and finally someone grabs his cane. A woman is underneath, obviously in pain.
House starts examining the woman, but she's too concerned about a birthday present she was supposed to get for her husband. She says her name is Hanna, and she knows what day it is. House tries to pull her out, but her leg is trapped. House wants to go get help, but she screams not to be left in the dark. House leaves to get help anyway.
House calls Foreman about the crane operator. He asks what would cause his syncope. The patient is fell asleep despite having taken a lot of caffeine. Thirteen is missing. House orders an MRI to look for brain damage, which will still be helpful even if the damage is from trauma.
House has led the team to the trapped woman, but they are having trouble treating her and they don't have enough medical knowledge to treat her as House directs. House crawls back in to insert an intravenous tube in her tibia - it’s almost hollow, feeds into her venous system. The emergency personnel can't break up the concrete trapping her and go to get lifting equipment. House leaves again assuring the patient that the fire chief will be back soon.
House talks about the gift with Cuddy, but she doesn't want to talk about it. She says there is no problem with Lucas. She admits to House that she just got engaged to Lucas the previous night and she thought it was an engagement present, although House meant it as a housewarming gift. House thinks she was hiding being engaged, but she says she just her brand new engagement ring in her desk for safekeeping.
The crane operator is getting an MRI, but he's more worried about the other patients. However, when they remove him from the MRI, he starts bleeding from his nose and eyes.
The emergency personnel can't lift the concrete trapping Hanna because there is too much rubble on top of it. Cuddy tries to talk the woman into an amputation because by the time they clear the rubble, she will be too ill to be treated. However, House is opposed. Cuddy points out crush syndrome is likely if they don't free her soon. House wants the emergency personnel to keep digging instead. The fire captain is worried that there will be further collapse or gas explosions. However, Cuddy finally sides with the patient. House promises the patient he won't let them cut off the leg.
Foreman calls with news about the operator - his MRI was fine, but he's bleeding from his eyes and nose. Taub thinks it might just be from the trauma. Thirteen shows up - she was away from her pager and phone. House orders an x-ray veniogram even though the others want to do safer tests. House tells them he’s coming back to the hospital and tells Hanna he’s going to leave her to the other emergency personnel.
However, Hanna has a panic attack and she wants House to return. Cuddy tells him to go back to keep her calm enough to treat her.
House returns and starts treating the patient. He gives her his phone so she can call her husband while he takes her blood pressure. It has spiked and is causing more bleeding from her leg wound. He tells her not to do anything to raise her blood pressure, like talking to her husband. She asks what's wrong with his leg, and he says a crane fell on it. He won't pray with the patient because he doesn‘t believe in god. She says she doesn't believe in God either, although she says she does believe good things happen to people who do good things. House says he used to believe that, but he doesn’t know anymore.
The team does the veniogram. Taub realizes Thirteen wasn't at physiotherapy, because it‘s on a different day, but she says her day was changed. He doesn’t believe her, but says he's just worried about her. She says she's okay.
They start trying to lift the beam and House warns her it's going to be painful. However, as they try to remove her, there is a secondary collapse.
House finds himself covered in debris. He starts calling out for Hanna. The fireman calls for assistance and gets in touch with the emergency team. House and the fireman manage to free themselves. One of Hanna's lungs has collapsed and House has to re-inflate it. House leaves because he’s bleeding and needs treatment for his own injuries.
The crane operator now has a fever and a sub-arachnoid bleed. The veniogram was clean. House orders a lumbar puncture. The fireman reports that there is more debris on top of Hanna now and it will take at least five hours to free her. Cuddy insists on amputation but House has a plan to treat the crush syndrome to keep her going. Cuddy thinks its crazy, but House insists he's the only one who knows what a leg is worth. He tells the fire captain he will testify on Hanna's behalf if they amputate because it's his decision, not Cuddy's. Cuddy asks to speak to House privately. She thinks it's about her. They get into an argument about her relationship with Lucas. She finally walks away, but turns and asks why he's going to risk the patient's life to save her leg. She reminds him that saving his leg didn't help his life. She's going to convince Hanna to agree to the amputation and asks House to stay out of it.
However, Hanna won't agree to it. She says she's not in pain. House finally shows up and tells Hanna he agrees with Cuddy - her time has run out. He tells her about how he got his leg disability. They did risky surgery to save his leg, but it's missing a huge piece of muscle and is barely usable. It made him miserable and alone. She can still have a life, but trying to save the leg will mean she will lose it. She finally agrees. House tells Cuddy he will do the surgery.
House gives her a painkiller, but can't give her anesthetic. He tells her about the procedure and what she can expect and that it will hurt like nothing she's ever felt before. He grabs a scalpel to start cutting through the skin and muscle, then switches to a bone saw. Hanna starts screaming. However, she's free in no time and she's taken away to be treated for shock and to be rushed to the hospital. Her husband arrives on site and starts reassuring her. House gets into the ambulance with them for the trip to the hospital. He leaves his cane behind, hanging from a piece of steel rebar.
Foreman calls with more news. The crane operator is in a coma, but the lumbar puncture was clean. They tell House a police officer is now with the patient. Thirteen tells House the police have only been there about ten minutes, and were questioning the patient before he fell into a coma. House realizes the patient didn't have anything wrong with his head, the problem was in his spine - an arachnoid cyst on the lower spine spiked the pressure in his cerebro-spinal fluid. Sitting in a cab for ten hours started the problem, and the caffeine he was taking only made the problem worse. However, all of a sudden, Hanna's blood pressure starts dropping and she‘s having trouble breathing. House realizes she has a clot in her lungs and he has to remove it. He administers a blood thinner despite the risk of bleeding from the amputation. However, it has no effect. House realizes it's not a clot, but a fat embolism from the amputation. There's nothing House can do. Hanna stares at House while the husband screams for House to do something.
At the hospital, Foreman and Chase run through the ER to meet the ambulance on its arrival, but when they open the rear doors they find its occupants sitting there in silence, staring at Hanna's lifeless body.
Foreman tries to console House. There was no way to prevent the fat embolism - she would have died even if they had done the amputation in the operating room. However, House screams at Foreman that he knows he did everything right - knowing he did doesn't make him feel any better. Foreman tells him he shouldn't be alone and that he's bleeding. House orders him to get out of his way.
Taub finds that Thirteen is asking for a leave of absence and asks why. She admits she's not okay, but doesn't tell him anything.
House enters his dark home, and limps to his bathroom, where he switches the dim lights on. He clasps both hands either side of the mirror, before looking at himself; his face pained and on the brink of tears, and then he sees his dead patient's face looking at him when she died in the ambulance. There is a pause, then he rips the mirror off of the wall, revealing a small cavity with two bottles of Vicodin hidden inside. He carefully takes them out, before he slowly sits on the bathroom floor; looking at the bottles in his hand, before opening one bottle and letting two pills fall out into the palm of his hand. He begins to shake as he goes through a powerful internal struggle, about whether or not to take them since he believes he has nothing else, taking what Cuddy said about him being alone and having nothing left in his life.
Before he comes to a decision, Cuddy appears through the shadows, to House's surprise. She mentions that he needs to re-bandage his shoulder, which is still bleeding slightly from the last time she bandaged it a few hours prior at the crash site. He asks her if she is going to grab the pills from his hand, and she says no; It is his choice alone if he wants to go back on drugs. House looks surprised at her unexpected answer, before saying he finds it hard to see the downside of not taking them.
Cuddy mentions Lucas, and House interrupts her, thinking she was going to tell him that she's pregnant or has had a quickie marriage in secret, but she interjects by saying she ended it with Lucas. Shocked, House simply looks up at her, eyes wide. She then begins to explain how she feels stuck, unable to move forward even though she is trying to. Because even though she had a fiance and a new home and her baby, she never truly forgot about House; she couldn't stop thinking about him. She asks him, bluntly, if they could 'work' as a couple. House asks her if she thinks he can fix himself, and she says she doesn't know. House then says that he is the most screwed up person in the world, and Cuddy tells him that she knows, then she says that she loves him; even though she wishes she didn't, she knows now that she can't help it, and she can't ignore her feelings any longer.
There is silence, as House looks at her, then debates what to do, before he tries to pick himself up off the floor, but is unable to because he is in pain, so he reaches out his hand, and Cuddy helps him up. House towers over her, as he steps up to her, and gently kisses her on the lips; compared to his hallucination, which was a more passionate and fiery kiss, this was subtle and sweet.
House pulls away, and asks Cuddy how does he know it's not another hallucination like last year, she simply asks if he took the Vicodin, and he replies no. She then looks at him with a sweet smile, and declares that they're okay then. House smiles softly, and replies; "Yeah." House then leans in once again, and kisses her as the camera focuses on their hands which intertwine, and then the episode ends.
- Cuddy announces that she is engaged to Lucas Douglas
- House gives Cuddy the gift he spent most of the episode Baggage retrieving - a book by Cuddy’s great-grandfather.
- A crane collapses in Trenton, New Jersey, injuring or killing close to a hundred people.
- The hospital is overwhelmed by victims of the crane accident.
- House discovers a woman trapped in the debris, treats her in situ, then performs the amputation to free her.
- House admits he wishes his leg was amputated.
- The woman survives the amputation, but dies on the way to the hospital.
- House is tempted to take Vicodin again.
- Just before House takes the Vicodin, Cuddy appears, tells him that she’s broken off her engagement with Lucas, and admits she wants to be with him.
Both of the conditions in this episode are common. About 4% of the population is born with an arachnoid cyst, although many are asymptomatic. Fat embolii are a common complication of amputation.
- Before the secondary collapse, House checks Hannah’s blood pressure manually, without a stethoscope. (That's called a blood pressure by palpation). So no goof
The title refers to both Hanna's and House's pleas for help. Hanna needs help because she is trapped under heavy rock and is dying, and House is trapped within his love for Cuddy.
Trivia & Cultural References
- The entire episode was filmed on multiple Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras. Though the show's production team found the cameras were very useful in situations where a conventional film camera would not be practical (due to space and/or lighting restrictions), the results elsewhere were generally considered unsatisfactory, and so this experiment was not repeated in any future episodes.
- When House tells a Firefighter/EMT to start the IV in Hanna's tibia, the firefighter responds with a blank stare and House responds that "Which, they obviously don't teach you in EMT school". In reality, rescuers trained to the EMT-I and Paramedic level are well versed in this technique, called Intraosseous Infusion and it requires a significantly more rigid needle than a typical IV catheter.
- "Help Me" is a famous song by Joni Mitchell. The previous season's finale, Both Sides Now, was also named after a Joni Mitchell song.
- Fire Marshall Bill was a famous character played by Jim Carrey on the Fox series “In Living Color”.
- The opening to this episode only has the title, and no music.
End Credits Message
Male Announcer: You may not be seen in all the Fringe episodes. Check out online.
- A look at the medicine on Polite Dissent
- Review on Unreality Shout
- Episode information at IMDB
- Episiode article at Wikipedia
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