Wendy Lee, Ph.D., is a missile scientist with the U.S. Department of Defence who was the patient in the episode The Fix. She is the girlfriend of Ceaser, one of her co-workers. She was portrayed by actress Linda Park.
Case History[edit | edit source]
Dr. Lee collapsed with a seizure during a missile test without showing any other symptoms beforehand. She was rushed to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. When no immediate reason for her seizures were determined, she was referred to Dr. Gregory House. Dr. House wanted to do environmental scans, but realized that getting into her highly secure office without her knowing would be impossible. He ordered a scan of her home and Dr. Foreman suggested an MRI and asking permission to search her office. Dr. House agreed. He thought it might be a tumor or a CNS bleed.
Dr. Lee told the team she has always been healthy and never even gets a common cold. However, her boyfriend Ceaser cornered Dr. House and suggested that perhaps Dr. Lee had been poisoned. He told him that Dr. Lee had several suitors at work and they often competed to get her. However, Dr. Foreman told Dr. House that they had already tested Dr. Lee’s blood and cerebro-spinal fluid for every toxin they could think of and all the tests were negative. Dr. Taub noted that there are many possibilities they hadn’t tested for and the MRI results were negative. Dr. Chase finally suggested that treatment with activated charcoal would work with most poisons and was very safe. However, Dr. House insisted on an environmental scan of the ex-boyfriend’s home and the patient’s home.
Dr. Chase and Dr. Hadley did the scan of the ex-boyfriend’s home, but found nothing relevant. However, Dr. Foreman and Dr. Taub found many empty liquor bottles at the patient’s home. They confronted the patient, but she denied being a drinker. She said she collected the bottles for a friend’s art projects, and she hid them because her housekeeper kept throwing them away. Dr. Hadley though the patient was lying to keep her government security clearance, but also pointed out they didn’t find any alcohol in the patient’s home and she could have thrown away the empties to hide it. Dr. Foreman through the best idea was to start her on Valium just in case it was delerium tremens.
However, Dr. Lee started having severe abdominal pain. Dr. Foreman ordered 5mg of intravenous morphine. This posed a problem because it wasn’t clear whether her underlying condition or the treatment was causing her pain. Dr. Chase stopped the treatment, but Dr. Foreman thought that was a bad idea because the pain could be from acute pancreatitis, a common complication of alcohol abuse. Dr. Hadley put down the pain to severe stress from her job and love life. Dr. Chase though it might be a kidney infection (pyelonephritis) and suggested starting her on antibiotics. Dr. Foreman was unable to come to a decision or reach Dr. House for instructions.
Dr. Lee was soon having more severe seizures. This ruled out pancreatitis and the treatment for alcohol withdrawal had no effect. Dr. Chase had tested for infections and this had been ruled out. Dr. Hadley had referred the patient for a psychiatric consult, but it was normal as well. Dr. Chase noted the CT scan and ultrasound showed inflammation in the renal capsule. He thought it might be an obstructing calculus or perinephric abcess. However, Dr. Foreman noted that the blood cultures had come back negative and it was most likely just a benign cyst. Dr. Hadley thought it might be gas in the perinephric space, in which case she would need emergency surgery. Dr. Taub suggested she might have an underlying neurological condition which was exacerbated by a urinary tract infection due to her promiscuity. He suggested intravenous ampicillin and immunoglybucide. The rest of the team agreed.
However, despite the treatment, Dr. Lee was soon in detac and her blood pressure was dropping. She was in the midst of a heart attack. Her boyfriend was incredulous - Dr. Lee was a marathon runner. Dr. Chase managed to shock her back into sinus rhythm. She was given an automatic cardiac defibrillator to maintain her until they determined what her underlying condition was. However, during surgery, Dr. Chase noted that Dr. Lee was bleeding from her vagina. Dr. Taub thought this indicated a coagulopathy, but Dr. Foreman noted that many toxins cause bleeding as well. However, Dr. Hadley pointed out if it were a toxin, Dr. Lee would have got better once she was in the hospital, away from the source. Dr. Foreman noted they had to treat whatever the underlying condition was, not just the symptoms and went through the possibilities: cancer, sepsis, trauma, liver disease or hemorrhagic fever. However, Dr. Taub felt that in the absence of a diagnosis, they had to treat the symptoms and went to treat the bleeding.
Despite Dr. Taub’s treatment, Dr. Lee started bleeding from her mouth as well. She had no breathing issues. However, Nurse Gibbs noticed that the patient’s gums appeared as if they had been burned. Upon examination, it is clear the bleeding was coming from the gums.
The team did research and Dr. Chase discovered a case with similar symptoms from a candidiasis infection, but that patient didn’t exhibit seizures and the fungus would have shown up on tests of her blood. Dr. Taub thought it was acute myeloid leukemia, but there was no family history, her blood tests were normal and she had no exposure to a chemical toxin. However, Dr. Hadley realized there was one other cause of myeloid leukemia - radiation sickness. They went to Dr. Lee’s room to remove her to an isolation room to prepare her for a stem cell transplant. Her boyfriend protested, insisting she would never work with radiation. However, the doctors took her to isolation anyway.
A matching donor was found and they prepared to start as soon as the HSC was available. Dr. Lee was upset she couldn’t see her boyfriend. However, Nurse Ellen Hoffner noted that the patient’s genital area had become engorged with blood. The patient wasn’t complaining of pain or discomfort in the area. This seemed to rule out radiation poisoning, but Dr. Foreman wanted to keep treating her because the treatment was having a positive effect - her seizures were improving and her fever had lessened.
However, the team finally figured out why she got better in isolation. They went to her boyfriend and told him he needed a bone marrow transplant. He insisted that he couldn’t have it and the doctors confirmed that the only reason he could be so sure was that he knew what was wrong with Dr. Lee. Dr. Hadley confronted him and told him that the only explanation for Dr. Lee’s improvement was that he hadn’t been near her - he must have been the one poisoning her. They had already sent someone to his home to search for poisons, but asked him to come clean. He admitted he gave her cantharidin, which is a poisonous substance used as an aphrodisiac commonly known as “Spanish Fly”. It acts similar to radiation poisoning. He had repeatedly poisoned her in the hospital, but once she was put in isolation, she spontaneously got better.