Whatever It Takes (House)

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"Whatever It Takes"
House episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 6
Directed by Juan J. Campanella
Story by
  • Thomas L. Moran
Teleplay by
Original air date November 6, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Mirror Mirror"
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List of episodes

Whatever It Takes is the sixth episode of the fourth season of House and the seventy-sixth episode overall, which aired on November 6, 2007.

A champion drag racer collapses after a race and Foreman is sure it is only heat stroke. However, when a CIA agent comes to take House to a special case, Foreman is left alone with the rest of the applicants. The drag racer takes a turn for the worse, and Foreman finds his authority with the applicants crumbling and the confidence of the patient disappearing. With House out of contact, Brennan comes up with a crazy idea and fights with Foreman on both the diagnosis and treatment. Meanwhile, House treats a spy with life-threatening symptoms while trying to impress his attractive attending physician and undercut one of the world's leading doctors at the same time.


Drag racer Casey Alfonso experiences blurred vision and distorted hearing after she develops a seizure following a race. Sent to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, House takes the case, hoping that by solving it, he will be able to test drive a dragster, but Foreman does not believe her symptoms are life-threatening, suggesting she is simply suffering from heatstroke. When an agent from the CIA recruits House to help diagnose a mortally ill agent named "John", House puts Foreman in charge of the fellowship candidates and the case. Foreman reiterates his heatstroke diagnosis to Casey, until she suffers a second seizure and a vertical nystagmus. The case becomes more frustrating and impatient for Casey when she develops a high fever, following the team's suggestion of Miller Fisher syndrome.

At a CIA hospital, House meets Dr. Samira Terzi, who is spearheading John's case, and immunologist Sidney Curtis from the Mayo Clinic as a secondary consult. The only information Terzi gives to both doctors is that John was stationed in Bolivia during most of the year and liked to eat chestnuts. When House and Curtis meet him, he is cachectic, has peeling skin and deformed fingernails. Curtis initially suggests horse-chestnut poisoning, but House dismisses this as horse-chestnuts are foul-tasting and impossible to confuse with edible chestnuts. Other diagnoses include alcohol-induced pancreatitis and radiation poisoning, resulting in them treating for the latter. However, House secretly stops treatment for radiation and switches to that for pancreatitis. When John becomes unresponsive and almost comatose, House suspects Waldenström's and John is treated with plasmapheresis and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, his hair falls out too quickly to be a side effect of the chemotherapy, and House believes John was the target of an assassination attempt.

Back at Princeton-Plainsboro, Foreman believes his patient has multiple sclerosis, following a string of tests the candidates conduct and begins the treatment of interferon, until Casey develops leg paralysis, due to Chris Taub and Amber putting her on steroids at the same time, deducing instead that it is lupus. Taub suspects botulism, given the speed of the symptoms, but Brennan strongly feels it is polio. His suggestion is immediately turned down, until Brennan returns with positive test results for the condition. Although the team is downhearted because of the test result, Brennan suggests a treatment of vitamin C, which he believes can destroy the polio virus (a therapy tested inconclusively in the 1950s) and restore Casey's use of her legs. She improves significantly, however, Foreman notes the inconsistencies of the bloodwork: when Casey was brought in, her blood was negative for polio.

Curtis blasts House for misdiagnosing John, and due to the bone marrow damage caused by the radiation treatment, he does not have long to live, but House remains adamant in solving the case and suggests a herbal treatment called cordyceps sinensis to restore the damage. While House is sitting at his bedside, John tells him of his time in Bolivia, but House realizes John was not in that country, but Brazil, having eaten large quantities of Brazil nuts that naturally contain selenium. House informs Terzi and puts John in chelation therapy; although the agent does not see why House is angry if the treatment is successful even with imprecise information, Terzi realizes that by not disclosing it sooner, the agent did not do what was needed to save the patient from the beginning.

Back at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital, Foreman shows House the inconsistencies involving Casey, and House suggests her symptoms fit either because she has polio, or because someone poisoned her with thallium which yielded a false positive for the polio test. The fault lies on Brennan, who admits to the scam, saying it was necessary to prove the vitamin C treatment was reliable and a possible cure for the virus, thus promoting its discontinued research. House does not fire Brennan because he did what he believed, but he tells him to quit instead, stating he is ethically insane, while notifying Foreman to call the authorities. After expressing apparent anger with the question, "Who the hell did I leave in charge?" and getting his answer, House tells the candidates there's a reason Foreman is in charge—he knows what he's doing.

Later, Cuddy confronts House about his whereabouts, and House says he was "in the Hamptons, helping some rich hedge fund jerk treat his son for the sniffles", Cuddy doesn't believe this and tells House to do his clinic hours and Wilson's 16 hours. Outside, Terzi states she wants to take up House's job offer and says she'll be in "Monday 9 o'clock".


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