Insensitive (House)

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House episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 14
Directed by Deran Sarafian
Written by Matthew V. Lewis
Original air date February 13, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Season 3 episodes
List of episodes

"Insensitive" is the fourteenth episode of the third season of House and the sixtieth episode overall.


The episode begins with teenage Hannah being taken to the hospital by her apparently overprotective mother after falling on ice. A car accident knocks the mother unconscious and leaves the girl with shrapnel in her leg which apparently does not disturb her.

Meanwhile, the hospital is short-staffed on Valentine's Day and the diagnostics team is helping out in the ER. Watching Foreman clean Hannah's wounds, House deduces immediately that she has CIPA (a congenital nerve disorder preventing her from both feeling pain and from sweating), which she denies. He confirms his diagnosis with several observations and ends by whacking her leg with his cane. He orders a battery of tests on her including a spinal nerve biopsy. House goes to Cuddy to explain that he thinks Hannah has a neurological problem. Cuddy sees no evidence, and wants an EEG before she will consider the biopsy.

Hannah will not submit to any testing until she has more information on her mother, who is in surgery. House tells them to sedate her but she refuses. Eventually, House comes in and verbally spars with the girl, comparing their relative misfortunes. During this argument, House tricks her into letting him sedate her.

Hannah suddenly develops a 105° (40,5 °C) fever while House continues to insist on the spinal nerve procedure.The diagnostics team think that a spinal nerve biopsy could paralyze or seriously harm her, and pointing out the lack of medical need for the tests. House defers to Cuddy for permission to do the biopsy. He brings her the file in the middle of her blind date, embarrassing her in front of her date. Cuddy quickly grants permission to make him leave.

Instead of performing the dangerous nerve biopsy, Chase convinces the others to somehow find the problem by inducing pain. Wherever Hannah could feel the pain would be where the problem is located. However, Hannah fakes being in intense pain to remove the restraints and then threatens to jump off a balcony unless the team lets her see her mother. She suffers a paranoid delusion, her legs become paralyzed, and she falls off the railing to the rock-hard floor below.

Wilson thinks that House wants the spinal nerve biopsy in order to grow it and then plant it in his own leg, a procedure which might allow him to walk pain free. House considers the possibility of Hannah's problem being endocrine, and visits Cuddy (at night, at her house) for an endocrinology consult, ostensibly because the endocrinologist on call was not picking up his phone. Cuddy tells House that he did not need to personally visit her because the endocrinologist on call is available—she just talked to him—and that she thinks he visited her to interrupt her date. Cuddy then asks House if he likes her and is jealous, though House denies it saying he simply is trying to destroy other people's happiness. Cuddy's comments seem to fluster House. Cuddy's date overhears their conversation and leaves, saying that he prefers the personality Cuddy showed to House to the one she has been showing him.

After Hannah's condition worsens due to a meeting with her mother, House gives up on endocrinology and consults with Wilson on a potential cancer diagnosis. While stealing a bite from Wilson's sandwich he decides that Hannah has a vitamin B12 deficiency and that the B12 she was given earlier was being stolen, and that her paranoia was caused by reaction to the sedatives. He rushes her into an OR and removes a huge tapeworm (probably of the Diphyllobothrium genus) - which had absorbed the vitamins itself - while Hannah, unsedated, watches.

Finally, Foreman's girlfriend realizes that Foreman cannot take commitment and she breaks up with him. Cameron announces to Chase that she thinks they should have non-committal sex, and House and Wilson go out to breakfast, as House resigns himself to not getting any samples of Hannah's spinal nerve.

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