Family Business is case #13 in House M.D. - Critical Cases.
Ben Burgess, a 17 year old high-school dropout, developed nausea and vomiting during an argument with his father Frank, a salvage business operator. When he reached the emergency room, they detected a heart flutter, and Taub noted a fruity scent on his breath. As he knew the patient, he convinced House to take the case.
House ordered an environmental scan and the team found several empty bottles of cough syrup. This got them worried about addiction, but the symptoms didn't match. After using $1,000 of budget, 3 ward favors and 8 IV bags, they realized that cough syrup would have successfully treated laryngeal papillomatosis and they were able to rule it out.
A round of imaging shows an irregular heartbeat. After using 23 heart meds, 3 ward favors and 8 rolls of gauze. They find there was no sign of it in his last examination six months ago. As such, they can rule out atrial flutter.
The team decide to treat the ketoacidosis by assuming it's due to type-1 diabetes. They use 27 body meds and 7 tongue depressors and confirm that Ben has a history of diabetes on his mother's side of the family. However, although the ketoacidosis disappears, Ben is still vomitting, he develops a high fever and a sore throat. The team realizes that the ketoacidosis is not related to the underlying condition.
House ordered more imaging. After using $1,025 of the budget, 3 ward favours and 8 tonge depressors, they found swollen lymph nodes. This ruled out encephalitis, but the symptoms together pointed to something more deadly.
Given the swollen lymph nodes and other symptoms, House decides to treat for lymphoma with 27 gland meds, 2 ward favors and 7 IV bags. However, the biopsy taken to confirm the diagnosis was clean. In addition, Ben started acting like his mother was still alive and showed other signs of disorientation. At this point, House wondered how a high-school dropout who played in a band had money to buy cough syrup.
Ben went code blue again and had to be defibrillated.
House ordered another environmental scan, and this time the team found black mold in the basement. After spending $1,025 of the budget, using 2 ward favors and using 21 chem meds, they realized that Ben's lymph nodes were probably swollen due to breathing in the mold. This ruled out the possibility of lymphoma.
They treat Ben for Q fever with $1,050 of the budget, 3 ward favors and 25 gland meds. At first Ben's father believes he brought it home from his former job at the meat processing factory. However, Ben had to admit that he was working there himself.