Whac-A-Mole (House)

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House episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 8
Directed byDaniel Sackheim
Written byPamela Davis
Original air dateNovember 21, 2006
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Son of Coma Guy"
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"Finding Judas"
List of House episodes

"Whac-A-Mole" is the eighth episode of the third season of House and the fifty-fourth episode overall.


When 18-year-old orphan Jack (Patrick Fugit) has a heart attack while working at a children's restaurant, House and his team discover that he has a series of infections all at the same time. They must find out what is causing this bizarre infection and stop it before Jack dies - leaving his 11-year-old sister Kama and 8-year-old brother Will alone to fend for themselves. House first gives each member of his team one test to do on the patient, while writing his diagnosis on a piece of paper and sealing it in an envelope and giving them three hours to decide. Foreman runs an MRI, Chase does a blood culture for bacteria, and Cameron decides to play House's game and does not tell anyone.

House finds out Jack has hepatitis A. They treat him for it, and he improves, but starts bleeding out of his arm, ear and nose. Foreman extracts some spinal fluid, and when he turns the patient back onto his back, the patient's rib breaks. The team members each run their own tests and find he has osteomyelitis. They find he tests positive for syphilis (Foreman's diagnosis), Eikenella corrodens (Cameron's diagnosis) and botulism (Chase's diagnosis). They clear all the infections out of his system, but he starts having seizures every few hours. House suspects drugs might still be left in his system from when he used drugs before his parents died, so they put him in a sauna to have him sweat it out. However, his blood test is negative for drugs. The team does an MRI scan on his head to look for possible causes for the seizures, and find over 20 tumors all over his brain.

House then thinks the tumors are just pus, which would explain why they grew so suddenly. The antibiotics for the infections along with the IVIG produced a favourable environment for the fungus. The team draws fluid from the patient's head. They find abscesses from aspergillus, a fungal infection, but they do not know what caused this.

Eventually House and his team diagnose the case and determine that he needs a bone marrow transplant. Kama is not a match, but Will is. Jack tells Foreman he will take the transplant when Will is 18 and can legally decide if he wants to do this, even though Foreman repeatedly assures him that there is minimal risk to him. House then deduces that the patient will not take the transfusion because he cannot shoulder the responsibility of taking care of his two siblings, seeing as he is only 18. The episode ends with Kama and Will being led away from the brother and, most likely, into a foster care system. Foreman tells the patient that he'll change his mind in the future. The patient then says "I don't think so" to which Foreman replies "It's what I want to believe."

Wilson's car is impounded by the police at the beginning of the episode because of the ongoing narcotics investigation of House. Wilson consults a lawyer about his car, who recommends that Wilson drop House before he follows him. Meanwhile, tension between House and Wilson rises as Wilson has lost his license to prescribe medicine and House makes little effort to help. The episode ends with Wilson waiting at the bus stop as House drives by on his motorcycle.

Throughout the episode House experiences pain in his shoulder, believing it to be from using his cane improperly. He asks all of his team members, at separate times, to prescribe him Vicodin, which they refuse because he is under a police investigation. Cuddy eventually gives him a prescription, but tells him the pain in his shoulder is psychological, which Wilson later claims is a result of House's conscience.

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