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The Greater Good

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The Greater Good
February 2, 2009
Episode Number
5.14 Rating
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
House: "Then you really have a problem. The way she turned to move her head to look at the MRI. I think she’s losing her peripheral vision."
Foreman: "Because she turned her head."
House: "I‘m happy for you. A love so deep you‘re ready to chuck your medical license to give her powerful, unproven drugs with dangerous side effects. I don‘t want to make any assumptions about your feelings for me, but I do have a birthday coming up. "
— The Greater Good

The Greater Good is a 5th season episode of House which first aired on February 2, 2009. This is also the 100th Episode of House.

A woman who collapses during a cooking class turns out to be a renowned cancer researcher who gave up her career to pursue personal fulfillment. This prompts the doctors to grapple with their own pursuits of happiness. Meanwhile, Cuddy is stuck back at the hospital and decides to make House's life more miserable than it usually is. With the best intentions, Foreman puts Thirteen on the real Huntington’s drug in the trial, only to have her health takes a turn for the worse.


A cooking assistant starts feeling faint and starts coughing. She looks at her reflection and says she has cyanosis and feels pain in her back and chest. She then says she is a doctor, diagnoses herself with a spontaneous pneumothorax, and cries out that she needs a doctor before she collapses.

Thirteen is in bed with Foreman. While Wilson is cleaning dishes, he finds a mug Amber left behind the night she had her accident and puts it aside instead of washing it. House is coming into work and finds the elevators are all out of service. He reluctantly starts climbing stairs and finally hobbles into his office. His team says the elevators are now working. They tell him about the case of the doctor. House thinks there are a lot of common causes for a pneumothorax. Thirteen wants to take the case because the patient is close to making a cancer breakthrough. House orders steroids and a CT Scan to look for hyperinflation because they think it is only late-onset asthma.

The patient is impressed with the speed of the testing schedule. The patient informs the team she quit being a doctor after an emergency surgery for a ruptured benign tumor which convinced her she was wasting her life. She is happy working in a kitchen because it is what she always wanted to do. Medicine was what she was supposed to do.

House goes to see Cuddy who shows him videos of her daughter. House wants to know why the elevators are not reliable. Cuddy is not concerned and is mad at House for forcing her to work more hours at the hospital because Cameron couldn't handle him.

House finds the elevators with out of order signs again, but they are actually working. He figures someone is trying to fool him into thinking they are always broken and gets on the next elevator.

The team discusses why the patient gave up on her work. House tells them people do what makes them the happiest. Their best idea is pulmonary fibrosis. He then orders a biopsy on the patient. When the others are out of the room, House accuses Foreman of having switched Thirteen’s medicine, but Foreman denies it.

Foreman gives Thirteen her examination. She is complaining of a headache but is not concerned. She is still doing well on the memory tests.

The patient doesn't want to undergo a biopsy because she knows it will keep her in the hospital for two weeks. Taub is telling her about how much he liked being a plastic surgeon but how his job now makes him feel more fulfilled. The patient said it wasn't enough for her. The patient complains about something and Taub starts drawing blood out of her abdomen.

The patient is now suffering from a bleeding liver. House is leading his team when he trips over a trip wire placed across the doorway of his office. His team denies any involvement with the wire, and House admits to them he knew who did it. The MRI of the liver is clear. Foreman thinks it might be a granuloma and Thirteen thinks it was caused by blastomycosis. House wants a lung biopsy. House notices Thirteen has lost her peripheral vision and asks Foreman again if he changed her medication.

Wilson comes in after hearing Cuddy is playing practical jokes on House to find House tending to his scraped knee. House says he's not going to escalate until he needs something, but Wilson says he's just feeling guilty about keeping Cuddy at the hospital. Wilson is surprised about who House’s patient is and goes to see her. He asks her why she quit. She tells him someone else will make the breakthroughs but he wants to know why he should keep fighting when she was willing to give up. She asks him what kind of rut he's in.

Taub asks his wife if she wants kids. They haven't talked about it in ten years. She didn't really want kids from the beginning and she really doesn't want them now.

Foreman tests Thirteen's peripheral vision and realizes House was right about her losing it. Thirteen realizes she's on the drug and might have to go off. Foreman tells her he switched her to the real drug. She realizes her headaches are from the drug too and she has to change back to the placebo. She goes to tell House the patient doesn't have blastomycosis. She also is scared Foreman has done something so stupid even though they've only been dating a couple of weeks.

Foreman goes to see the patient to taker her off the anti-fungal medication, but he finds out she has scratched her scalp so badly she penetrated right through to her brain.

Taub repairs the damage to close the wound, but the patient is still itching. The fact that she scratched so far means its a brain problem. House thinks it might be meningitis or encephalitis. House orders an MRI of her head. House realizes someone has stolen his cane shortly after he set it down.

Foreman asks if Thirteen wants to talk about her headaches. She's off the drug, but they are getting worse and she‘s taking codeine. Foreman thinks she needs an MRI.

House uses a mop and bucket to work his way to Cuddy's office. He tells her working moms make better mothers. Cuddy says he's rationalizing. He refuses to dump the mop water in her office and instead uses the mop and bucket to leave the office.

Foreman does an MRI on Thirteen and apologizes for switching her to the real medication. Foreman sees something on the scan.

House manages to work his way back to his office with a medical supply cane. Foreman comes in and House berates him for not being there and for Thirteen being missing too. However, Foreman just walks out again. House thinks the patient has nerve damage and tells Taub and Kutner to shock the patient. He then chases down Foreman who tells him Thirteen has a brain tumor. He's going to tell the drug company and see if they have a treatment, but House talks him out of it because he reminds him Thirteen will need someone who still has a medical license.

Foreman goes to Thirteen who is now blind and bleeding from her leg when she tripped over something.

Wilson goes to his office and finds House sleeping there. House tells him Cuddy had his power cut off in his apartment. House goes back to his office - Taub and Kutner have been trying to page him because the patient started feeling shocks in her spine even before they tried to shock her. Taub thinks it might be a spinal hemangioma, so House orders them to go look for it.

House finds Thirteen in her apartment, but he's looking for Foreman. He realizes she's blind. Foreman has gone to the drug company and House tries to intercept him. He tells her the drug company probably can’t help - she needs radiation therapy. House admits he told Foreman to switch the medicine if he loved her. He convinces Thirteen to call Foreman.

Wilson confronts Cuddy about the practical jokes. He tells her she must actually like working with House - if she really wanted to stay with her baby, she should fire House.

House and Foreman start radiation therapy on Thirteen. Foreman said he was willing to risk his own career but didn't think the drug would hurt Thirteen, because no one else was having adverse effects.

Taub and Kutner are doing a scan on the patient. Kutner wants to know what's going on with House, Thirteen and Foreman. They find the hemangioma, but they find other masses as well, and all over the place. They believe it is mesothelioma - a form of cancer. However, they were not there two days ago. House wants Wilson to do a biopsy. Kutner wants to know what's going on with Foreman and Thirteen. He thinks Thirteen may have been admitted, but House stays silent.

Wilson does the biopsy and apologizes to the patient for confronting her about her decision to quit research. He admits he is stuck in a rut because his girlfriend died and he is still living in her apartment without disturbing her things. She tells him the only wrong thing is to do nothing. The patient realizes something weird is happening during the biopsy - she‘s bleeding from the biopsy site.

Kutner goes to see Foreman and Thirteen. Thirteen tells both Kutner and Foreman not to feel guilty, and she tells Foreman not to throw his career out the window. Kutner tells Foreman to risk his career if it is necessary. However, Thirteen says she would feel worse if Foreman couldn’t be a doctor.

The biopsy bled, which doesn't happen with mesothelioma. Taub thinks it might be another form of cancer. The patient has a cardiac arrest from bleeding into her pericardium. As Kutner and Taub work on her, the patient starts bleeding from everywhere.

They start a transfusion of platelets, but they can't stop the bleeding. House proposes cutting off the arteries to the tumors, but that will also kill healthy tissue. House points out she may become disabled, but she will still be alive.

House finds Cuddy with his cane. She apologizes. House thinks her behavior might be related to her menstrual cycle. However, he suddenly thinks of something. Cuddy tells him he's being a jerk again.

House realizes that the patient's bleeding coincided with her period. The patient had a uterine myoma eight months ago and the surgery must have released endometrial cells everywhere into her body. They grew and started swelling and bleeding in conjunction with her menstrual cycle.

Foreman goes to see Thirteen to apologize, but he realizes she can see him again and they hug.

The patient starts improving. She says this second near-death experience shows her she made the right choice, because she never asked herself if she should have done something different. She tells Taub to go to bed happy tonight.

Foreman calls the doctor in charge of the clinical trial to tell her the trial isn't going well. House finds him and realizes he told them. They agreed not to go after Foreman's license if he doesn‘t participate in any more trials. Foreman realizes House is in the locker room to take something out of someone else’s locker.

Taub goes to tell his wife he can't be happy without her.

Foreman and Thirteen start sleeping together again. She tells him he snores.

Wilson starts washing Amber's mug.

Major Events Edit

  • In revenge for House's childish behaviour stopping her from spending time with Rachel, Cuddy starts playing tricks on him.
  • Thirteen develops a treatable brain tumor while on the Huntington’s medication, which forces Foreman to drop out of the clinical trial.

Zebra Factor 2/10Edit

Endometriosis is a very common condition, affecting up to 10% of women of childbearing age. It is well documented that endometrial cells can be transplanted during surgery on the uterus, and the endometrial cells can travel to several different parts of the body. However, it not common for it to present with symptoms this severe.

End Credits MessageEdit

Male Announcer: The clock is ticking on Jack Bauer. A new 24 is next.

Trivia and Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • House greets the janitor who is putting the out of order signs on the elevators as “Blue”. This appears to be the first appearance of the janitor named “Lou” that gave House the key to the film room in Ugly. The character is eventually identified properly as Drew.
  • “Deepak” is a reference to Deepak Chopra, an Indian American public speaker and author. He is a trained endocrinologist but later turned into a proponent of alternative medicine.
  • Beaches is a 1988 film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey about two lifelong friends. It is considered to be one of the quintessential “chick flicks”.
  • A Flak Jacket is a full body armor used to protect against explosives.
  • Bombing of Dresden was a WWII carpet bombing. The fires after the bombs started a massive firestorm.

Cast Edit

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Big Baby

The Greater Good
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