House Wiki

The Mistake

6,717pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Add New Page Talk0
The Mistake
House-The Mistake
November 29, 2005
Episode Number
2.8 Rating
Final Diagnosis
Behcet's disease, Perforated ulcer, sepsis, liver failure, hepatoma
Zebra Factor
House: "Yeah! Why didn’t she go to med school like you did? Diarrhea, blood in the stool, these are routine questions..."
Chase: "...that doctors skip all the time! It was a minor mistake, I couldn’t have known that..."
House: "Mistakes are as serious as the results they cause! This woman could die because you were too lazy to ask one simple question."
— The Mistake

The Mistake is a 2nd season episode of House which first aired on November 29, 2005. The episode is told in flashbacks as Stacy prepares Chase and House for a disciplinary case where a simple mistake by Chase eventually results in the death of the patient. When the hospital is sued over the incident, Stacy has to dig for the truth both to save the hospital and Chase’s career. However, she’s distracted by her ongoing feud with House over his review of her confidential therapy records.


During a recital at her daughters' school, a woman screams with severe abdominal pain.

The scene is now six months later, and the diagnostic team is working with Stacy Warner to prepare for a hearing before a peer review disciplinary hearing. Stacy resists working with House, but Cuddy points out that since lawsuits against House generate 40% of the hospital's legal work, she can't work at Princeton-Plainsboro unless she deals with him.

Wilson and House are discussing House’s fight with Stacy when she walks in to tell him about the hearing. He signs the paperwork and sends her to see Chase.

Stacy starts preparing Chase for the hearing. They review Chase's memory of the patient's treatment.

The patient presented at the clinic with joint and stomach pain. Foreman was called in for a neurology consult, and uveitis interests House in the case. The team starts trying to establish a diagnosis. House assigns Chase to perform a pelvic exam after he spills House‘s Vicodin all over the office. It appeared to be Behcet's disease, and Chase prescribes prednisone.

However, a few days later, the patient comes back to the clinic to see Chase, and the test results are positive for Behcet‘s. The patient mentions her stomach still hurts, and Chase writes her a prescription. Kayla goes to ask him something else, but changes her mind at the last minute. Chase admits he didn't ask her more about the stomach pain, believing it was acid reflux or upset stomach from the prednisone.

House tells Wilson he isn't worried about the disciplinary hearing because he never met the patient. However, Wilson points out that House never meeting patients is bad medical practice and that Stacy may tell Chase to sell House out.

Chase admits to Stacy that about an hour after the patient left, he thought that he should have asked if the patient had blood in her stool and called her. The patient is in the emergency room two hours later with a perforated ulcer. She needs emergency surgery, but stomach contents had leaked into her abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis which led to sepsis and damage to her liver and kidneys.

Stacy talks to Cameron about why Chase forgot to ask about the blood in the stool during when Kayla came back. Cameron doesn't know why he failed to do so and suggests she ask House. Stacy goes to Foreman instead, who suggests Chase doesn't care that much about patients, and again tells Stacy to ask House.

House tells Stacy that given the patient had bleeding ulcers, there was no way she was "fine" when Chase examined her two hours previously. At the time, House chastised Chase for failing to ask about diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Stacy can't understand why House wouldn't fire Chase over such a mistake and House dodges the question. Stacy confronts Chase about his failure to ask the question.

Because of the sepsis, the patient suffers liver damage due to blood clots and requires a liver transplant. Cuddy refuses to put the patient on the transplant list because she also has vasculitis and kidney damage. House convinces Cuddy to agree by pointing out that the patient will sue the hospital over the missed diagnosis. Cuddy relents to put the patient on the transplant list, but there is no suitable liver available. Her brother insists on donating a lobe from his liver, offering rushed screening tests which prove that his liver is compatible.

After bribery fails to convince an unfaithful surgeon, House blackmails him instead to perform what amounts to a highly risky transplant. It turns out House tells the surgeon's wife about the infidelity anyway after the operation.

House and Stacy confront each other about his looking into her therapy file.

Although the transplant was successful, the patient returns two months later. House forces Chase to perform the examination as punishment for missing the initial diagnosis. She has a slight fever, so Chase orders tests, just before her fever spikes. The team argues about whether it is organ rejection or an infection. The brother comes in to confront House, and House immediately sees he has hepatitis C. House suspects that this has led to cancer in the sister and he orders an MRI of both the patient and the brother.

House turns out to be right - the donated liver had a cancerous hepatoma, which spread quickly in the sister because of her immune system being suppressed. They luckily are able to operate on the brother and save his life, but the sister is terminal.

Chase is sued for malpractice over the sister's death. Chase admits that he tried to help the sister get a black market transplant, but backed out when he realized his medical license was on the line. He instead tells the sister that she will probably not survive the surgery or even the trip to get a black market operation. He tells the patient about his father‘s death and urges her go home to spend time with her children before she dies. The brother objects, but the patient is satisfied she got three more months and saved her brother’s life. The patient passes away a week later. However, Chase examines the brother post-surgery. The brother tells Chase that he and the orphaned children are going to have to move as they can no longer afford to live there. Chase then tells the brother he made a mistake diagnosing the ulcer and that he was hung over at the time. This infuriates the brother, leading him to sue.

House confronts Chase; he doesn't believe Chase was hung over. House was aware that Chase got a phone call about his father's death on the same day the patient came to confirm the Behcet’s test. It was also the day Chase learned his father had had lung cancer for several months and never told him. House then reveals that he knew about Rowan’s cancer and promissed not to tell Chase about it. They then discuss what has to be done about the disciplinary action and lawsuit. The lawsuit is settled and the brother has enough money to keep the children in their family home.

As Chase speaks to the panel, Stacy tells House that she never considered selling him out to save Chase or the hospital. She also admits that there were some good things about their relationship.

The discipline committee takes into account Chase's father's death, and suspends him for a week despite his lying and the mistake. The committee is concerned that House has been accused of blackmail and avoids meeting patients and orders him to be supervised by another doctor for one month. Cuddy decides to appoint Foreman to supervise House for that period.

Major Events Edit

  • Chase reveals his mother had a serious drinking problem and died from alcoholism when he was in his teens.
  • It is revealed that two months after visiting his son, Rowan Chase passed away from lung cancer.
  • After learning of his father's death, Chase, consumed by grief gets distracted and ends up killing a patient by accident.
  • The committee suspends Chase for one week but reveal that members of the transplant team complained to them about House blackmailing and bribing them.
  • As a result of the hearing, Foreman is appointed temporary head of the Diagnostic department and House’s immediate supervisor for one month.

Clinic PatientEdit

At the clinic, House examines a well-off man who has had a cough for two months and low oxygen stats who has no health insurance. House discusses with him the plight of a hypothetical patient with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which requires a lung transplant, but since he doesn't have insurance, he won't be able to afford it, and no insurance company would cover him with such a serious pre-existing condition. If only he had gotten himself insurance before a doctor had diagnosed him...! The patient quickly leaves the room before House can finish an examination. However, it turns out House lied to him so he would go get insurance - the patient merely had a cold. He later plays the same trick on a patient he calls Fusan.

Zebra Factor 4/10Edit

Behcet’s is fairly rare in the United States, occurring in about one out of every ten thousand people. It is somewhat more common in Europe and Asia.

Trivia & Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Bloomingdale’s is an upscale department store based in Manhattan with outlets in many major American cities.
  • Aretha Franklin is an American singer and songwriter usually referred to as “The Queen of Soul“. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her as the greatest singer of all time. Although her career started in Detroit, she was born in Memphis. “Respect” is one of her forty-five top forty hits and one of her two number one hits.
  • Wilson mistakenly says to House "That's why Nixon was impeached." Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. He was involved in several political scandals collectively known as "Watergate." Nixon was not impeached, but it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would be impeached, tried and removed from office, as his political support in Congress dwindled rapidly once his involvement in Watergate was revealed. Nixon announced his resignation in a televised address on August 8, 1974, and resigned the next day.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Kayla ponders "keying" the convertible of the father of the girl who has been making fun of her daughters. Later in the episode, Mrs. Ayersman keys Dr. Ayersman's convertible after she finds out about his affairs.
  • The episode breaks some cinematic elements by mixing the characters in current events and flashbacks, such as House narrating himself in the middle of a flashback or House and Stacy watching the flashback, while actually inside the said.

Cast Edit


Previous episode:

The Mistake
Next episode:

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki