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The Itch

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The Itch
November 11, 2008
Episode Number
5.7 Rating
Guest Star(s)
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
"I kind of hit that, so she’s all on my jock."
―The Itch

The Itch is a 5th season episode of House which first aired on November 11, 2008.

An agoraphobic man falls ill and refuses to leave his home to be treated at the hospital. Therefore, House and the team have to go to his home to figure out what might be wrong. Cameron takes charge of the case as she had treated the patient in the past and she and the team figure out ways to treat him at his home. However, the patient’s condition worsens and it becomes difficult to treat him at his home, therefore House and the team plan to get the man into the hospital for surgery. Meanwhile, Cameron and Chase attempt to work through issues in their relationship, and House deals with an annoying itch he cannot seem to treat, with Wilson making his own analogies about the problem.


A man lies nearly unconscious on the floor when a team of emergency personnel break in. As they take him to the ambulance he starts to panic and attacks the emergency personnel. He runs back into the house, slams the door and tells them to leave him alone.

Cameron comes in with the case. The patient is having headaches and seizures. He can't come to the hospital because he is agoraphobic.

Cuddy calls House into the hall. They start talking about their kiss the previous night. Cuddy says she was emotional about the loss of the adoption and says House was just being human.

Cameron wants to know what House and Cuddy were talking about and House tells them they made out. Thirteen thinks House is joking. Cameron still tries to talk House into taking the case. They discuss how they are going to do a diagnosis without all of their equipment. House tells them to go search the house for toxins.

Cameron and the team go to the patient's house, but he resists letting them in. He only wants to let Cameron in. He agrees to let Cameron examine him, as long as the rest aren't there in the room with them. The rest of the team searches the home.

Cameron tries to induce a seizure. The patient remembers that Cameron was part of the outreach program that came to his house by her voice. He makes a living writing technical manuals, but says he's happy never leaving home.

Wilson comes in to talk to House about seeing Cuddy the previous night. He says that he made out with Cuddy and Wilson is shocked. House now plans on ignoring Cuddy for the rest of their lives. Wilson thinks that by trying to hide it from him, he actually feels something. Wilson sees House scratching an insect bite and tells him to stop, but House is trying to break the skin.

Taub reports that the house is clean. House and Cameron talk about trying to induce a seizure and Cameron's relationship with Chase. House cuts the insect bite with a scalpel and puts a band-aid on it. House thinks the seizures are related to the patient’s phobia because they happened in his entry way, so he wants to induce a seizure by playing to the fears.

House goes to the patient's house too. He brings strangers into the patient's room and tries to induce a seizure, but instead, the patient gets abdominal pain.

Cameron finds a partial bowel obstruction with the portable ultrasound. House goes to see the patient. He explains his bowel is blocked and they need to take him to the hospital. Drugs are a possibility, but the bowel may still rupture. The patient still resists going out of his house. House suggests getting Chase to come to his house to do exploratory surgery.

House tells Cameron he's really planning to anethestize the patient and take him to the hospital. They get into an argument about the ethical problems, but Cameron finally agrees.

They get ready to do the "surgery" and start the anesthetic. When the patient is unconscious, the ambulance personnel arrives.

Wilson goes to see Cuddy. Cuddy admits that House kissed her, but says it's no big deal. Wilson asks why she doesn't consider House in romantic light. She says she's already anticipated the problems. Wilson says that if she's already anticipated it, she must have thought about it a lot. He tells her it may not turn out as she planned.

Cameron and Chase are discussing their living arrangements when Cuddy confronts them over the surgical equipment they signed out. She confronts House about the ethics. House finally agrees not to return the patient to his home after surgery - the risk of post-operative infection is just too high. She then notices a sore on House’s hand, but he says it's nothing.

However, before the surgery, Cameron wakes the patient and tells him he's in the hospital. The patient panics and Cameron has trouble sedating him. She accidentally damages the patient's carotid artery in the struggle. Chase arrives to help and wonders what Cameron did.

The patient calls his lawyer and arranges to leave the hospital. The lawyer is now the medical proxy. Cuddy takes them all off the case.

House has no intention of getting off the case, and tells Cameron to give the patient drugs to attempt to clear the blockage. She gets into an argument with Chase about whether she should be working with House given the fact they have been thrown off the case and the fact they both gave up working for House over a year ago. Cameron manages to regain the trust of the patient.

Wilson tells House he got kicked off the case because Cuddy's behavior has changed, and House's behavior has changed too. House is still tending to the sore on his hand. Wilson tells House that he should still try to pursue Cuddy because he thinks that he could be happy with her. House tells Wilson he's transferring his own feelings for Cuddy onto him.

Cameron proposes trying the surgery again, this time in the patient's house. Taub agrees to do it with assistance from Kutner. Kutner hasn't been a surgical assistant before. The patient's lawyer is there too. They find the patient has intestinal atrophy. They accidentally start a fire from the gas from the atrophy. House puts it out. They figure the patient has Whipple’s disease and House orders antibiotics.

Chase brings groceries to the patient's house, but gets into a fight with Cameron about her spending too much time at work. The patient cries out and Cameron finds that his legs have gone numb.

Whipple’s is ruled out. Foreman thinks it might be Celiac disease. House wants to feed him wheat to see if the symptoms get worse to confirm. Cameron thinks House is merely trying to make the patient suffer more pain so he will agree to come to the hospital. Foreman orders both force feeding and the usual blood test for the disease.

Wilson goes to see Cuddy. He admits he has feelings for her, but it wouldn't be fair to House or to Amber. Cuddy asks him out for dinner, and Wilson agrees. Then Cuddy suggests they have sex because she's figured out Wilson is just trying to make House jealous. She tells Wilson everyone will be happier if she doesn't try to have a relationship with House.

Cameron discusses the agoraphobia with the patient. Doctors blamed his mugging, but he has always been happier not going out. His girlfriend, who died during the mugging, was the only person who made him want to go outside.

House destroys the blood sample Taub is examining. He's hoping to delay the diagnosis so the patient will be in more pain so he will agree to come to the hospital. Next, House plans to switch out the patient‘s morphine with saline. House thinks that Taub's marriage is falling apart and that he agreed to do the surgery to keep his skills up and to stay away from home. Taub denies it, but House doesn't believe him.

House has a dream about causing an explosion with a propane driven device used to attract mosquitos. He goes to Wilson's house, and Wilson realizes that he really wants to see Cuddy. House claims there is a mosquito in his house and he has a sore on his hand from the bite. Wilson says it's obviously a self-induced sore and there is no mosquito. The itching is from his desire for Cuddy. Wilson tosses him out and tells him to either go home or to ask out Cuddy.

Instead, House goes to the patient's house. The tests are still inconclusive. House orders another endoscopy. While they try to move the patient, he has a heart attack. House uses it as an excuse to call the lawyer to get permission to admit him. The lawyer agrees, but Cameron uses the portable defibrillator to stabilize him anyway. He doesn't have to go to the hospital.

The patient needs a temporary pacemaker because his heart is beating too slow. They start discussing toxins again. The cleanliness gives House an idea. The patient has been mixing ammonia and bleach to clean his tub - chlorine gas. The gas is stored in fat and when the patient lost weight he would have continued to receive a bigger dose of the poison. House orders steroids and sodium bicarbonate. However, they realize the patient will need a permanent pacemaker and that Taub doesn't have the skills to do it.

Cameron is trying to talk Chase into doing the pacemaker insertion surgery in the patient's home. He refuses because he needs a full surgical suite to do the procedure and he realizes that Cameron is just looking for a reason to be angry with him. He admits that he feels she has never let him feel welcome in her home ever since they started being together. He tells her he's not going to chase her forever.

The patient is getting worse. Cameron realized House had switched the patient's morphine for saline in an attempt to get him into the hospital but she switched it back. They start talking about how the patient's agoraphobia started at adolescence. All of a sudden, House thinks of another poison that could cause the symptoms. He finds an area of slightly higher density. He thinks the patient has lead poisoning and takes a bone biopsy. They find traces of the bullets from the mugging. House tells the patient he has PTSD and that his agoraphobia really did start when he was mugged. House realizes that his first seizure came on his dead girlfriend's birthday, and he tried to take roses to her grave, but failed. He tells him to admit to himself that he's miserable being cooped up inside. He calls him a coward and leaves.

Cameron goes to Chase and tells him he was right about believing that her husband's death is the reason why she is having trouble forming a permanent relationship with him. She has cleaned out a drawer for him at her apartment.

House finds a real mosquito, but lets it live. Rachel goes out to cuddle with Taub on the couch. Cameron and Chase are putting Chase's belongings in his new drawer. The patient takes a few tentative steps out of his house. House goes to Cuddy's house and sees her working through the window, but leaves before she notices he's there.

Major Events Edit

  • Cameron is now running the hospital’s community outreach program. (Possibly a year ago - she talked to him when he had the flu a year prior)
  • Wilson learns that House and Cuddy kissed.
  • House goes to Cuddy's but walks away at the last minute.

Zebra Factor 1/10Edit

Lead poisoning is the most common type of heavy metal poisoning.

Trivia & Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Pyroxene is a group of minerals made up of silicon, aluminum and oxygen as well as other elements. Prospectors look for pyroxenes in the field because they can indicate the location of diamond bearing rock.
  • Another reference to the use of baseball metaphors for sexual advances.
  • Cuddy goes through a long soliloquy about the problems she anticipates in having a relationship with House, anticipating the events of Season 7.
  • Stigmata are wounds of the hands and feet typical of crucifixion and are associated with Christ.
  • Burning propane is often used to attract mosquitos into traps. The burning propane gives off carbon dioxide and water vapor, which is how mosquitos find their hosts.
  • Five battles in World War I are commonly referred to as the Battle of Ypres. The second was the first use of chlorine gas as a weapon in warfare.
  • When Cameron tries to convince House for the surgery in the patient's apartment by pointing out that they have better conditions than military field hospitals, House replies, "We still need Trapper John." Captain Trapper John McIntyre is a surgeon in Richard Hooker's book, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, and in the subsequent MASH movie and TV series.


When the patient has a heart attack, Cameron orders House to use the defibrillators to stabilise him. House calls the hospital for the ambulance and says that the patient has P.E.A (Pulseless Electrical Activity). This means that the patient's heart HAS electrical activity but is not producing a pulse, and is NOT treated with defibrillators. Defibrillators are used to treat electrical problems with the heart. Pulseless Electrical Activity is treated with Epinephrine or Atropine if bradycardia is present. Defibrillators would have worsened the patient's condition. Another explanation is that it’s not a goof, and that House wanted to bring in the patient. If he had P.E.A they would have had no choice but to bring him in (Everybody lies)

End Credits Message Edit

Male Announcer: Stay tuned for Fringe. Coming up next on FOX.




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