|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Newton Thomas Sigel|
|Written by||Peter Blake|
|Original air date||December 7, 2004|
|Season 1 episodes|
|List of House episodes|
"Maternity" is the fourth episode of the first season of House, which premiered on the Fox network on December 7, 2004. A number of newborn babies acquire unknown diseases simultaneously. House and his aides must race against the clock to save them and avoid further spread of the disease.
In the hospital, the Hartig parents are concerned because their baby girl, Maxine, is spitting up but has not eaten anything yet. Baby Maxine suffers a seizure.
House presents Maxine to Wilson as Exhibit A. Exhibit B is Baby Hausen, another newborn who is also ill. House thinks it is a nosocomial infection, but Cuddy does not believe it's the beginning of an epidemic. House tours his team in the maternity ward to check the other newborns in the hospital, and they find one more baby with a sudden fever and similar symptoms. Later, they find another infant who is developing symptoms as well. Cuddy finally realizes the truth of House's prediction and quarantines the maternity ward.
House and crew discuss four sick babies and the symptoms. With a spike in fever and low blood pressure, these children could be dead in one day. The group thinks it might be a bacterial infection. Since there's no time to wait for test results, House orders two treatments to be started. Each baby gets an MRI. Nothing shows up on the scan, so the doctors continue administering two antibacterials. One of them starts causing the kidneys to shut down in two of the four babies. House says there's no point in guessing, so they take Baby Hartig off the aztreonam medication and Baby Chen-Lupino off the vancomycin, deciding which baby will get which drug with a coin toss.
Dr. Cuddy and a hospital administration refuse to allow House to change the treatments without informing the parents. He pleads that this experiment will save at least five more babies, so after some thought, Cuddy painfully gives him the green light. Later, the Chen-Lupino baby's health begins to worsen with a falling heart rate and blood pressure. The doctors rush in and try to shock the baby back to life, to no avail. The aztreonam does not work. House instructs his staff to cover the rest of the babies with vancomycin.
House instructs Cameron to tell the deceased baby's parents (Kim Chen and Judy Lupino), and that their son has saved five more babies' lives. But when she and Wilson approach the parents, Cameron tenses up, almost unable to speak, prompting Wilson (who, as an oncologist, breaks hard news to patients all the time) to reveal the shocking news. The two women are devastated, with Cameron feeling sorry for them and House completely disappointed with what she's done.
Chase nervously informs the team that the vancomycin is not working either as Maxine is getting worse. House racks his brain to think of what this disease is, and decides to perform an autopsy on Baby Chen-Lupino and devises a theory that it is a virus that is affecting the babies' hearts. Foreman complains that the team is in trouble, as it could be any one of thousands of viruses, and would take months to test for them. Chase, who specializes in intensive care medicine, tells House that due to the smaller amount of blood they are dealing with, they can only run five or six tests on the babies. So House tries to narrow down the list of possibilities, and ends up with eight. House also has Cuddy take blood from the one healthy newborn in the hospital to use as a control group.
The doctors eventually settle on Echovirus 11 as the likely culprit. They have an experimental antiviral drug from a company in Pennsylvania, and (with the parents' consent) administer it to the babies.
When Cameron is in House's office, he begins questioning her about her behavior concerning this case, and deduces that she has either gone through not a lot of death, or too much death. He hits a nerve with her when he suggests that she may have lost a baby. Calling him a bastard, she indignantly walks out on him. This is one of the few times that House is seen as truly caring about his employees, though it shows more in his face than in his actions.
That night, House observes an elderly hospital volunteer coughing and wiping her nose as she pushes around a cart of baby toys and blankets. He appears to realize that she was the original source of the virus. House's apparent visualization is that she had transferred the virus to plush stuffed animals, the virus then transferring from the stuffed animal to the baby when they came close to the baby.
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