|First Appearance||Fall From Grace|
Danny Jennings is the homeless patient in the episode Fall From Grace who is later revealed to be a serial killer. He was portrayed by actor Chris Marquette. The web site Buddy TV chose Danny its best patient in the series.
Danny was accidentally burned in an accident with a model rocket. However, the model builders who came to his aid and contacted 911 advised emergency personnel that Danny had trouble distinguishing smells before he lost consciousness.
Danny was taken to the emergency room of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital where he complained that his burned flesh smelled like liquorice, and the antiseptics like blueberry muffins. He identified himself as “Ferris Bueller”. Ms. Masters brought the case to Dr. House was intrigued as the dysosmia could indicate anything from an environmental exposure to a degenerative brain disease and took the case. He ordered Dr. Taub and Dr. Chase to check out the park where they found the patient and ordered Ms. Masters and Dr. Foreman to start him on prednisone and do an odor ID test. He also told the team to find out what else the patient was lying about because the name he gave to the ER personnel was obviously a fake.
Dr. Foreman and Ms. Masters went to see the patient, who was having a meal. Dr. Foreman asked him how his burned arm was. Danny replied it still hurt, but he was afraid he was going to be discharged. Ms. Masters told him they were going to check out why his sense of smell wasn't working and asked him when he first noticed it. Danny replied he thought it was about two months prior. Dr. Foreman asked him for his real name so they could check his medical records, but the patient was uncooperative and said he didn't come there voluntarily and wasn't going to pay for extra tests. Dr. Foreman assured him that the hospital wouldn't be coming after him for payment. He denied having a medical history and denied ever being sick. However, Dr. Foreman noticed several scars and burn marks on his torso and back. Danny told the doctors that his father abused him as a child, but never hurt him so bad that the damage would show or would require a hospital visit.
The patient was shaved and his hair was cut. After the prednisone had time to work, Dr. Foreman and Ms. Masters came back to do the odor ID test. The patient still had trouble, mistaking baby powder for rotting meat and body odor for peppermint. Dr. Taub returned with syringes and vials and asked the patient what drugs he was using. The patient insisted they were only vitamin supplements. Dr. Taub also found books identifying the patient as Danny Jennings. The patient denied that was his name and went to discharge himself. However, when he went to get out of bed, he cried out in pain and complained that his stomach hurt. There was also blood on the bed indicating bleeding from the digestive tract.
The vials did turn out to be harmless Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12 supplements. Dr. House still thought the patient might be a heroin addict, but Dr. Taub noted the patient's tox screen was clean. However, Dr. House had the patient's hair tested, and it showed he was a heavy heroin user sometime within the last five months. Dr. Foreman suggested the dysosmia might have been from snorting heroin, but it wouldn't cause the digestive tract problems. However, Dr. Chase suggested the vitamins the patient was injecting might have caused hypervitaminosis A, which would explain the digestive tract bleeding. Dr. House said although he usually looks for a single unifying disease for all the symptoms, with a homeless person, the odds were better that there were several things wrong with him. Ms. Masters suggested the bleeding may be caused by an obstruction, but Dr. House thought that hypervitaminosis was more likely and easier to treat. He ordered tocopherol and zinc to absorb the extra Vitamin A. Ms. Masters noted that if it was an obstruction, it could get much worse very quickly. Dr. House agreed to let her x-ray Danny's abdomen.
Ms. Masters talked to the patient about his heroin use while they prepared him for his x-ray. Danny admitted to using heroin, but said he had been clean for three months. He had just overdosed and was clinically dead, so he entered a state rehab program. The x-ray showed thirteen masses, each 2-8mm in size, spread throughout the patient's colon. They couldn't be tumors because their edges were too defined. Dr. Chase ruled out parasites because the masses didn't move between x-rays, and there were no larvae or eggs in his stool samples. Dr. House thought they might be fungal masses attached to the wall of the colon. He ordered a colonoscopy.
Dr. Foreman and Dr. Taub did the colonoscopy the next morning. They found one of the masses, and they found all thirteen masses were pieces of bone. This pointed to pica, but the patient explained them by saying that a cook at a restaurant offered to give him food if he ate weird things. Dr. Foreman warned him that those fragments could have perforated his colon. However, the patient started complaining that there was something wrong with his eyes, like he was looking out from the bottom of a well. Dr. Foreman immediately examined him.
The tunnel vision combined with the dysosmia appeared to rule out induced abdominal bleeding. The heroin appears to have been ruled out as a cause of the dysosmia because Danny said he only injected heroin, he never snorted it. Dr. Taub suggested Western equine encephalitis, but there was no fever. Dr. Chase thought it might be Foster Kennedy syndrome from a meningioma or plasmacytoma that was pressing on the nerves controlling sight and smell. Dr. House ordered an MRI of the patient's head.
The patient was having trouble with claustrophobia in the MRI. He then vomited. There were two dark spots in the parietal cortex, but they weren't tumors. They could have been congenital defects or brain damage from his clinical death experience. Dr. House thought it was a sign of schizophrenia. However, Ms. Masters said that wouldn't explain why his blood pressure skyrocketed and his vomiting during the MRI. Dr. Chase put those symptoms down to a panic attack caused by his claustrophobia. Dr. Foreman thought the dysosmia and tunnel vision might be hallucinations, but Dr. Taub noted that the patient was given a full review for mental illness in the ER. Dr. House thought the ER missed it because it was presenting with only it’s early symptoms. The patient was started on clozapine.
Ms. Masters explained the support for homeless people with schizophrenia to Danny, but while she was doing it, the patient complained the pain in his arm had gotten much worse, like it was on fire. When they went to look at his burned arm, the patient said it was his other arm that hurt.
Dr. House realized the arm pain wasn't a delusion because his symptoms would not have gotten worse on clozapine. Dr. Chase thought it was regional pain syndrome from some kind of genetic disorder. Dr. Foreman wanted to send Danny's DNA for testing for Parkinson's disease. However, Dr. House pointed out that other diseases such as cortical basal ganglionic degeneration, Huntington's disease or a dozen others could cause the same symptoms. Testing would take weeks. Dr. House suggested finding the patient's mother and father, but Ms. Masters said that Danny didn't know where his mother was and wouldn't tell them where his father was. Dr. House told his team to find the patient's parents even if the patient wouldn't help.
Dr. Taub searched the records of New Jersey's state rehab facilities and only found one Danny Jennings who was treated. Danny listed his father's address as his next of kin. Dr. Chase and Ms. Masters went to meet the father. However, when they arrived, the man told them that his son had died three months ago of a drug overdose.
Dr. House went to see the patient to confront him about his identity. The patient still refused to tell him his real name, but denied he was a criminal. Dr. House pressed him about his father, but the patient told Dr. House that his father was looking for him - the father had sobered up and wanted to be part of the patient's life, but the patient wanted nothing to do with him. He said he would kill his father if he ever showed up. However, now the patient was exhibiting ataxia.
The ataxia indicated Parkinson's disease - progressive an incurable. Dr. House ordered L-Dopa and a DNA test to confirm.
The patient told Ms. Masters they should let him die, but she told him that he was just suffering from depression. He reveals that he deliberately took the overdose that nearly killed him, and that he's done horrible things that hurt people. He thought God had forgiven him when he didn't die, but he figured now God wanted him to suffer. Ms. Masters reassured the patient he didn't deserve it. He told Ms. Masters he once snapped and nearly killed his girlfriend and he's afraid that he's as evil as his father was. The patient then complained of dizziness and became unconscious. Ms. Masters called for a crash cart and started CPR.
The patient's heart was dilated and failing. At the rate it was failing, he was likely to need a transplant, but would be unable to obtain one without a diagnosis. Dr. House asked what they were missing. Dr. Taub admitted they knew nothing about the patient. Dr. Chase pointed out that the patient's symptoms had only gotten worse since his admission. Dr. Taub said that wasn't unusual with their patients - they usually got worse until they were properly treated. However, Dr. House wondered why the patient's decline was so fast. The patient had been homeless for months and his dysosmia was over two months old. He only got worse after he was admitted for his burns. He started to focus on how the hospital would be different from the park where he lived. Dr. Foreman said the hospital would be much cleaner. Dr. Chase suggested an allergy to one of the drugs he was given. However, Dr. Taub pointed out the patient started to get worse even before he was given medication. All of a sudden, Dr. House realized that the patient's diet was different. He stopped the meal cart and found that the patient had requested a vegetarian diet, something he probably couldn't do while he was homeless. Adult Refsum disease would fit all the symptoms. The disorder means the body can't process the phytanic acid in chlorophyll, so he would get worse on a high vegetable diet. Dr. House ordered plasmapheresis and a change in diet, as well as a DNA test to confirm.
The patient started to improve with treatment. Ms. Masters suggested that the patient seek counseling. However, the next morning, the patient had fled the hospital and the FBI was in his room because of the DNA sample that had been submitted for testing. It appears the patient was wanted in connection with thirteen homicides where the perpetrator had eaten parts of his victim.