- Wilson: "House, get out of here. Get out of here!"
- House: "You are not going to make me feel guilty about what Tritter is doing to us."
- Wilson: "You already feel guilty. Your mysterious shoulder pain isn't coming from your cane, it's coming from your conscience. That used to be enough. Despite all your smart ass remarks, I knew you gave a damn. This time, you were either going to help me through this, or you weren’t. I got my answer."
- — Whac-A-Mole
Whac-A-Mole is a third season episode of House which first aired on November 21, 2006. The team treats a young man who is the guardian of his younger siblings. When they treat him, he keeps developing new infections. Meanwhile, Tritter is putting pressure on Wilson to rat out House.
While working at a pizza place, a young man vomits before collapsing and clutching his chest; he's having a heart attack. The paramedics defibrilate him and learn he is the guardian of two younger children: his brother and sister.
The team start discussing the patient, who was recently orphaned by his parents' death. The patient is still vomiting, despite anti-emetic therapy. House lets them run one test for their diagnoses as he writes his down and seals it in an envelope.
Wilson meets his lawyer. The lawyer tells him that he has to give the police what they want. House is probably going to jail, and if Wilson keeps lying, he will be going with him.
The team discuss the patient and what test they are going to run.
The patient is still trying to keep control of his siblings, despite his condition. House comes in to see the patient about one of his symptoms: his itchy feet. The patient freely talks about his drug history in front of his siblings. House wonders if they are truly honest with each other.
Foreman proceeds to do an MRI on the patient. House questions the patient and notes the patient lost his taste for cigarettes, which is why he quit. Cameron does an angiogram and presses the patient to stress him for the test. The patient doesn't react adversely.
After using public transport, Wilson finally gets to work and explains his problems to Cuddy. He finds out all his narcotic prescriptions are bouncing back because the DEA has suspended his privileges.
Chase's blood tests are negative. At that point, House reveals what he knew all along—the patient has Hepatitis A. Wilson comes in to tell House his narcotic privileges have been suspended. He asks House to assign one of the fellows to do his prescriptions. They open the sealed envelope, but it doesn’t contain the hepatitis A diagnosis; instead, it contains a prediction on which tests the team would run, and House was 100% correct.
The patient improves on immunoglobulin, and they plan to release him the next morning. However, the patient's brother notices that his arm is bleeding, and the bleeding soon spreads to his ears and nose.
The Hepatitis A is gone, but there is a new problem: DIC. They guess it might be something at the pizza place, but no one else is sick. Wilson comes to get Cameron to cover his prescriptions. House orders them to find the patient's vomit from his workplace.
House asks Chase for a Vicodin prescription. Chase refuses and tells House he would rather lose his job than his license.
Wilson goes over his patient's prescription needs with Cameron. However, Cameron is reluctant to just rubber stamp Wilson's requests.
Chase goes to find the vomit and finds himself dumpster diving.
Wilson and Cameron meet with one of his patients. The patient wants to know why Cameron is there.
Foreman does a lumbar puncture on the patient. He accepts some assistance from the patient's sister. She is worried he is going to die. She tells Foreman her father died while drinking and driving. Foreman assures her that her brother is not that bad off. However, when they move the patient on his back, his rib breaks. House believes it is osteomyelitis. Foreman refuses to give House Vicodin too.
House's physiotherapist Lorraine is treating his right shoulder and puts him a sling and gives him a standard issue cane. House and Foreman go tell Cameron and Chase to stop testing for infections because the osteomyelitis rules out toxins and infections. However, they do find him positive for syphilis and another infection. House tells the team to keep testing. The patient also has botulism.
The patient starts having seizures after his infections are treated and the tests show he‘s not immunocompromised. House still thinks it is drugs trapped in his fat cells and his recent weight loss would release them back into his blood stream. They decide to sweat the patient. The patient says the last time he was high was when the police came to tell him about his parent's death. The patient once again has a seizure, but there were no drugs in his blood. House swaps his cane for another patient’s and tosses his sling away. House tells Foreman to scan the patient’s brain again.
Cameron also refuses to prescribe Vicodin to House. House confronts her about her fear of Tritter. Cameron gives him a PMS remedy.
The team does the brain scan. The patient is worrying about his siblings. They find growths all over the patient’s brain which appears to be tumors. The only treatment is radiation therapy, which will destroy his immune system. House thinks it might be a fungal infection. He orders a brain biopsy. House uses the last of his Vicodin.
House goes to Cuddy for the Vicodin. She realizes that his team said no. She agrees to prescribe the Vicodin because if she cuts him off, the cops will think he didn't need them. She then notices his sore shoulder and tells him it might be psychosomatic.
The biopsy shows a fungus, aspergillus. House thinks the cause might be a genetic disorder triggered by the stress caused by the death of the patient‘s parents. Wilson comes for Cameron to write his prescriptions, but House refuses to let her go. House decides to give the patient four diseases to rule out three of the conditions he doesn't have. Although the test is risky (it's not FDA approved), House points out to the patient that he will probably die if he doesn't undertake it.
Cuddy confronts House about the siblings not having a guardian. However, House points out that the patient will be fine after a bone marrow transplant. However, the patient refuses to accept bone marrow from his brother, who he feels isn't mature enough to understand the risk until he is 18. Foreman points out the alternative is medication, constant hospitalization and a shortened life span. However, the patient stands firm.
Foreman and House discuss the patient's decision and motives. House decides to test the patient's good faith by telling him there is another compatible donor. The patient refuses again, and House figures it is because if he remains sick, he won't have to care for his siblings anymore. The patient knows his siblings need him, but he also realizes he is too young to act as their father.
House goes to see Wilson, who is in the process of shutting down his practice. He is frustrated that House won't do anything and even tells him to get out of his office. He tells House that his shoulder pain is psychosomatic from his guilt about what he is doing to Wilson. Wilson realizes that House doesn't really care about what happens to him.
The patient tells his siblings that he can't take care of them anymore. The sister confronts Foreman about his promise to make her brother better. Foreman figures the patient will eventually agree to the transplant because he will miss his siblings. The patient doesn't think that he will do that.
House passes Wilson on his way home. He leaves without speaking to Wilson.
- Tritter increases the pressure on Wilson by towing his car.
- Wilson later discovers that his DEA number has been suspended, rendering him incapable of signing or prescribing pain medication to his patients and House.
- House and the team learn that Wilson's prescribing rights are restricted.
- House's right shoulder starts hurting.
- Wilson borrows Cameron so that she can sign prescriptions for his patients.
- With Chase, Cameron and Foreman having refused to help him, House eventually gets a Vicodin prescription from Cuddy.
- As a result of the DEA suspension and House‘s refusal to allow him free access to Cameron, Wilson decides to shut down his practice.
Zebra Factor 7/10
Chronic granulamatous disease is very rare, affecting about 1 in every 200,000 Americans.
Trivia & Cultural References
- Whac-A-Mole is an arcade game where moles on pistons pop up at random and the player scores points by hitting them before they retreat. A Whac-A-Mole game is shown in the opening. It also refers to the patient’s illness, where one disease is knocked down, only to have another pop up.
- The pizza place in the teaser is a parody of Chuck E. Cheese, a children's-entertainment pizza place with similar games and a mouse as a mascot.
- Party of Five was a drama series about five orphaned siblings that appeared on the Fox Network from 1994 to 2000. It launched the careers of Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
- The O.C. was a drama series on the Fox Network set in Orange County, California, which ran from 2003 to 2007. Olivia Wilde appeared in several episodes, and the show is also mentioned in other episodes.
- “The Game’s a Itchy Foot” is a play on a line from Sherlock Holmes—“The game is afoot”. The phrase appears in “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange”, but Conan Doyle drew it from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I.
- Guest Star Alan Rosenberg play's Wilson's divorce lawyer Bruce Steinerman, but Rosenberg is better known for playing another divorce lawyer, Eli Levinson, on both "Family Law" and "L.A. Law".
- Pants-Off Dance-Off was a dance contest show where contestants would do a striptease to music videos.
- Episode article at Wikipedia
- Episode page at IMDB
- Episode guide at House MD Guide
- Quotes at House MD Quotes
- Episode summary at TV.com
- Episode page at TV Rage.com
- Episode page at The House Fan
- Episode guide at USA Network
- A review of the medicine at Polite Dissent
- Episode guide at TV Guide.com
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