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Cindy came to the clinic for a routine physical and work-up pending her employment at a nearby university. Apart from a history of anemia and a recent cough, she had no other health issues. Once the results of the blood tests and x-rays were ready, the case was assigned to Allison Cameron who went to see the patient. She learned both the patient's parents had passed away, she was divorced, and had no other family. Dr. Cameron looked at the x-rays and realized they pointed to terminal lung cancer.
Dr. Cameron went to James Wilson for a consult, but he wondered why - the x-ray obviously pointed to terminal lung cancer. Dr. Cameron insisted that the patient's only symptom was a cough and asked for alternative diagnoses, but Dr. Wilson had none. He told her to inform the patient of the diagnosis so that she could prepare for whatever treatment they could give her.
Instead, Dr. Cameron turned to Gregory House. He too looked at the records and was sure it was terminal lung cancer. Dr. Cameron asked for a differential diagnosis in the event that it wasn't, pointing out Cindy was a much better person than their current patient and deserved equal treatment. Dr. House didn't see the point, but started to walk towards the whiteboard. Dr. Cameron threw out some possibilities, but when she turned to the whiteboard she saw the words "Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance" - the Kubler-Ross model of dealing with grief and death. He then orders Cameron to tell Cindy she's got a terminal illness.
However, Dr. Cameron informs the patient that they are still working on possible diagnoses and not to be worried. She turns to the rest of Dr. House's team for ideas. Dr. House is angry when he finds out, but Dr. Cameron insists that they confirm the lung cancer diagnosis before informing the patient. Dr. Cameron suggests it might be an infection and asks to do a bronchial lavage. Dr. House points out a biopsy would be conclusive, but Dr. Cameron argues a lavage is less invasive. Dr. House finally agrees to let her run the test if she will do some of his clinic duty.
However, the bronchial lavage shows nothing out of the ordinary. Cameron does the biopsy, which is positive. Dr. Wilson gets a copy of the biopsy results and finds Cameron with Cindy. He asks what she's doing if she's not telling the patient she's going to die, and warns her not to get emotionally attached to the patient. Cameron is upset that the patient has no family, and tells him that her first husband would similarly have died alone if she hadn't stayed with him.
Cameron eventually breaks the news to Cindy, who responds with "but it's just a cough". Cameron hugs her in reply.
House's nickname for the patient was "Cindy-Lou Who", a character from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.