Tick-Borne Disease – House MD (Fox) 2006

14 Jan

House MD (TV show on Fox)

Safe” is the sixteenth episode of the second season of House, which premiered on the Fox network on April 4, 2006.

The episode starts out with teenager Melinda’s boyfriend, Dan, visiting her at her house. Her mother, Mrs. Bardach, makes Dan wash his hands up to the elbows and when he sneezes, she questions him closely about possible illness, but he denies being sick so she reluctantly lets him go upstairs. Dan, wearing a surgeon’s mask, meets Melinda in her bedroom cleanroom and removes the mask to comply with her demand for a kiss. While kissing her, Dan notices urticaria on Melinda’s left forearm, but when he tries to question the girl about it, she almost immediately goes into anaphylaxis. Mrs. Bardach saves her via the use of an EpiPen, blames Dan, and takes her to the hospital. There it is revealed that Melinda had a transplant heart operation after her chest was crushed in a car accident. Thus, with a compromised immune system she has to be kept in a constantly clean environment.

Suspicions arise regarding whether Dan has been sneaking into her house. House and his team discover that the boy actually did meet Melinda, had sexual intercourse with her and, as a precaution for her safety, has been taking penicillin ignoring that the girl is allergic to it. House chides Dan for being unaware that antibiotics can be transferred during sexual transmission of bodily fluids.

Just when they believe that Melinda is out of danger, she begins to have heart problems, followed by paralysis (steppage gait) and none of the treatments seem to be working. House interrupts a procedure to question Melinda about possible allergens, and they learn that the antibiotic that Dan was on wasn’t penicillin. The anaphylaxis must have an alternate explanation. House believes that all these symptoms have been caused by a tick or other bug, currently injecting trace amounts of venom into her bloodstream. He searches for a tick (a search that had been carried out previously as well), but finds nothing.

During an elevator ride to intensive care, House emergency-stops the elevator and proceeds once again to look for a tick. Foreman, dismayed by the irregular examination, initially goes along. In the meantime, Cuddy and the family are perplexed while waiting for the stopped elevator. When the patient’s condition deteriorates further, Foreman returns the elevator to service. As the elevator door opens, the girl’s family and other doctors are initially astonished to see House, with the patient’s knees spread apart and his head under the covers. The father of the girl (Lance Guest) initially suspects House of perversion, but the doctor is able to hold up the blood-gorged tick which he had found in her vagina. Finally, Melinda’s health returns.

Side stories include House playing various mean tricks on Wilson, including the classic “hand in warm water“, pushing his patience and diplomacy until he files House’s cane making him break it and trip when walking. At the end House tells Wilson that the purpose of his recent behavior was to teach him to react to the unpleasant things in his life, like the recent separation from his wife, rather than just complain about them.

 

*Lyme disease is mentioned numerous times during episodes of House when patients have many medical issues going on.

 

Links:

Tick-borne disease

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0774238/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_%28House%29

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