Truth Is Stranger than Fiction: 5 Ridiculous 'House' Cases That Could Actually Happen
Truth Is Stranger than Fiction: 5 Ridiculous 'House' Cases That Could Actually Happen
The cases dealt with on House often seem to stretch the bounds of medical science. But there is always a base of truth on which the show is built. By taking a look at actual medical situations that mirror the events on House, we find that the truth is at least as strange as fiction.

Yes, But Is It Art?
Season 7's finale, "Moving On," openly drew inspiration from Marina Abramovic, performance artist extraordinaire. The episode's opening sequence almost exactly copies her piece, "Rhythm 0," in which she laid motionless while the audience interacted with her, using tools from rose petals to scalpels.

It was only when the performance artist on House started turning Princeton-Plainsboro into her next performance piece that things started to seem more unrealistic.

Unrealistic until you start checking out bioart, that is. Bioart is a new field in which artists trade studios for laboratories... and then get really weird with it.

Ever want to surgically graft an ear to your arm? Better think of something else -- bioartist Stelarc has been there, done that. You could instead try injecting yourself with horse plasma to commune with nature. Oops! Marion Laval-Jeantet's "May the Horse Live in Me" has that covered.

While the scenario in "Moving On" hasn't happened yet, it wouldn't look out of place in the realm of bioart.

All True Altruism
Millionaires suddenly abandoning their families, while simultaneously donating everything to charity, probably wouldn't make the 5 o'clock news -- they'd be too busy covering the flocks of flying pigs. In reality, it would take more than Benjamin Byrd's malfunctioning thyroid gland (in season 8's third episode, "Charity Case") for that to happen.

Actually, meet scientist George Price. While studying kindness and evolution, he left a wife and two daughters in order to turn his house into a homeless shelter. Oh, and he gave away almost all of his possessions. To top it all off, he had previously had thyroid cancer. Although that has never been connected to his actions, it does raise some eyebrows.

Don't Let It Keep You Up at Night, Though
On most people's lists of fears, "Staying up 10 days straight and catching the bubonic plague" ranks somewhere below "Chupacabra attack." But this is exactly what happened in season 2's 18th episode, "Sleeping Dogs Lie." While the episode sounds far-fetched, it is actually a fairly plausible situation.

Just because you are not a medieval peasant, you are not immune to the Black Death. There are still 10 to 15 cases that pop up annually. In 2005 -- one year before "Sleeping Dogs Lie" aired -- Colorado alone had a nasty six-county outbreak. As in the show, most folks contracted the disease from their pets.

As for not sleeping for 10 days, that's literally kids' stuff. 17-year-old Randy Gardner once stayed awake for 264 hours as part of a science project. Of course, this was back in 1964, when parents thought this kind of thing built character or something.

Staying in Tune
Lou Gehrig's disease is a terrible affliction, and there's very little that's inspirational about paralysis slowly creeping through someone's body. John Henry Giles, in season 1's ninth episode, "DNR," should probably have been more concerned with the impending complete loss of bodily control instead of with playing the trumpet.

Or not. Ned Mann certainly wasn't. This jazz musician not only kept making tunes after his diagnosis with ALS, but he also produced the album, Finding My Way Home. As in, he produced it from his bed, completely paralyzed from the neck down.

Meanwhile, Nickelback maintains completely functional bodies while producing terrible music.

Sidas and Sidis
James Sidas, from season 6's ninth episode, "Ignorance Is Bliss," was a genius who had withdrawn from society. Hating his intelligence, he decided he'd rather spend his days happily in a cough-syrup daze rather than being smart and sad. But looking at real geniuses making millions off their inventions while buying fleets of yachts makes that plot somewhat hard to swallow.

That is, until you go back to the early 20th century and the case of William Sidis. Note the similarity of the names? William Sidis, who attended Harvard at age 11, was arguably the smartest man to ever live, with an IQ estimated between 250 and 300.

Too bad he barely did anything with it, since he dropped out of society 10 years later to work on streetcars. If they had had DXM at the turn of the century, he'd probably be chugging that while planning out public transportation systems.

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Daniel Mikelonis
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)


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