Three Stories

Three Stories

House (TV series) episode
episode_name = Three Stories
episode_no = HOU-121
airdate = May 17 2005
writer = David Shore
director = Paris Barclay
guest_star = Sela Ward as Stacy Warner
Nicole Bilderback, Andrew Keegan, and Josh Zuckerman as medical students
Brent Briscoe as a farmer
Stephanie Venditto as Nurse Brenda
James Saxenmeyer as late 30's man
Carmen Electra as herself/farmer/House analog

season = 1
diagnosis = Streptococcal infection (farmer)
Osteosarcoma (volleyball player)
Thigh muscle infarction (House)

"Three Stories" is the twenty-first episode of the first season of "House", which premiered on the FOX network on May 17, 2005. David Shore won an Emmy in 2005 for Outstanding Writing for A Drama Series for this episode. [ [ Guide to the 2005 Emmy Awards] Retrieved 2006 11-18.] It won the Humanitas Prize in the '60 minute' category for the year 2006.


House agrees to lecture on diagnostics in place of the sick Dr. Riley in exchange for two hours free of clinic duty. On his way out of Cuddy's office, House encounters his ex-girlfriend, Stacy Warner, who wants him to treat her husband, whom she believes to be sick. However, House refuses.

His lecture consists of three different scenarios, all previous cases House has diagnosed with the students having input on what to do in each case. All three patients share one common thing: leg pain. The first patient is a 40-year-old farmer, who has an animal bite on his right leg which appears to be caused by a timber rattlesnake. However, when the anti-venom is given, he suffers an allergic reaction. After the farmer is stabilized, the skin from the leg begins to peel off and rot. The venom test results lead House to believe it cannot be from a snake, but since there is no presence of another snake in the farmer's field, the team gives him a different antivenin which has no effect. House decides to lie to the patient, informing him of his impending death. The farmer quickly changes priority, wondering what will happen to his dog, and House immediately deduces that the bite was caused by his pet, and this wasn't the first time it happened. As such, the dog will have to be put down, due to its record. Foreman and Chase return to the farmer's field and take a sample of the dog's saliva, revealing a form of strep bacteria, more commonly known as the flesh-eating bacteria. The farmer's right leg is amputated, but he is given a prosthetic one and a new dog.

The second patient is a young 16-year-old female volleyball player, who Cameron believes is suffering from tendonitis, due to her thyroid gland causing a depressed mental state, due to the patient's boy problems, resulting in the inflammation of the tendons. Cameron starts the tests, confirming tendinitis, and gives the teenager Thyroxine to level her moods. However, the treatment is not working, and the team becomes stumped when the patient develops hypersensitivity to touch and raised calcium levels. Chase theorizes parathyroid adenoma and an MRI is done to confirm. The scan reveals she has osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor on her femur. Cameron delivers the news, but warns the patient and her parents that, depending on how large and ingrained the tumor is, amputation might be the only way to recovery. Fortunately, her leg is not amputated and she makes a full recovery.

The last patient is initially depicted as Carmen Electra enjoying a round of miniature golf. In truth, the patient turns out to be a male golfer with extreme right leg pain, and House admits that Electra was simply a part of his fantasy. While being examined, the patient grabs a syringe of Demerol and self-administers the injection. The students deduce the patient was here just for narcotics, but he later returns with renewed pain. House has him undergo a urine test to see if there are any drugs in his system. When the patient begins urinating blood and waste, the students are stumped as to the cause, which greatly angers House. Cameron shows up at the lecture, diagnosing muscle death. As Foreman and Chase also arrive, House states an MRI was done to confirm, revealing an aneurysm that clotted, leading to an infarction. Immediately, Foreman realizes the patient in the third scenario was House all along.

In the flashback, Cuddy, now overseeing House's treatment, apologizes to the bedridden House that it took doctors three days to diagnose muscle death (it was House who actually suggested muscle death). Stacy, who was dating him, goes along with Cuddy's suggestion of amputating his leg. House refuses, and wants to restore the circulation, which could save his leg, but also comes with pain and severe risks. Indeed, House goes into cardiac arrest, claiming to have died and seen visions of the other two patients. By this point, Wilson has entered the lecture, asking House if he believes his visions were real. House claims he thinks the visions at the point of death are chemical reactions in the brain, as he finds it "more comforting to believe that [life] isn't just a test".

House has Cuddy put him into a chemically-induced coma, during which Stacy decides against his will to have the dead tissue removed without amputating his leg. While the students debate the ethics of this choice, Cuddy enters, and tells House he has run over the scheduled lecture time. By the time class is over, the lecture theater, which had started out as being 1/4 full, saw an increase of students throughout House's lecture. (The influx of newer students can be seen during the lecture and after each commercial break.) It has now been filled to near capacity. House tells Dr. Cuddy that Dr. Riley is vomiting due to the ingestion of lead-based paint, which House tasted when he drank from Riley's homemade coffee mug during the lecture. He limps to his office, leaving the students (who finally realize the true identity of patient no. #3), his team, Wilson and Cuddy in awe of such an experience and betrayal, not to mention having a better insight to this brilliant yet complex individual.

However, as he walks down the hospital halls, House calls Stacy and tells her he will treat her husband.


The episode is presented 'pataphysically. Three medical students are able to interact within the stories as though they are real despite not having been present when each story takes place. In addition, House's role within each story blends between his original role in the story as a doctor treating a patient and that of the storyteller to the diagnostics class. For example, when House makes his sudden transition from the farmer's story to the volleyball player's story, his team is puzzled about to whom he is referring. House admits that in the timeline of the story, the volleyball player's story has not yet happened. Upon admitting this, House jumps the story into the future up to the volleyball player's story as though nothing actually happened in the farmer's story and without any interference to the volleyball player's story.


*The fact that House has an infarction while playing golf is a reference to Flight of the Phoenix, when his character takes up golf at the end of the movie.


External links

* ["House" official site]
* [ Television Without Pity-"House" recaps]
* [ House Episode Guide at]
* [ TVGuide's Page: Full list of House Episodes]
* [ House M.D. Guide]
* [ "House M.D." IMDB Profile]

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