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Charity Case - Recap

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Benjamin Byrd, an unemployed man, goes to a job placement office and the counselor, Trina, shows him around and explains what services they can provide. She assures him that they can help him if he has a drug addiction, but admits that they don’t have a childcare program due to a lack of financing. As Trina takes a call, Benjamin says that he’ll be back. As he goes, Trina notices that he’s dropped an envelope. When she opens it, she finds a cashier’s check for one million dollars. She runs after Benjamin to thank him, but he collapses on the sidewalk.

House trims his hair and beard and makes Park watch. She wonders why and he says he’s got a new life and a new look. Park has the file on Benjamin, but assumes that it’s simple dehydration. House notes that the ER doctors thought the same way, but Benjamin is rich and they’re taking the case. They go to House’s office and find Dr. Adams, formerly of the prison, waiting for House. She thought they were meeting for coffee, but House figures since she’s out of a job and altruistic, she’ll offer to help their patient. Adams would rather get a paying job, but House figures she’ll help and she soon agrees.

Park and Adams do a MRI of Benjamin’s heart muscle to check for deterioration. He explains that he goes in undercover to make sure that the charities are deserving, and that he realized that he should use his money to do something important. Benjamin, a software engineer, started with ten million and couldn’t think of a reason to stop, so he lives on the bare necessities. The two women then report back to House as the doctor in the adjoining orthopedic lab loudly saws through casts. Park thinks that Benjamin is nuts, and Adams reports that the MRI provided negative for heart deterioration or brain trauma. She thinks that Benjamin’s generosity is good, not sick, but Park says that charity doesn’t changing things, and that she appreciates what she has because she had to work for it. Foreman comes in wants to know what House is up to, and figures that House plans to convince Benjamin that he saved his life so that he could get money from him and bring back his old team. House says that Taub and Chase are willing to come back, but Hadley is dying and isn’t a good long-term recruit. Foreman figures that she isn’t returning his calls and tells House to give Benjamin fluids and release him if he recovers. When Park points out that extreme altruism appears to be a symptom, Foreman tells House that he either has to release Benjamin or acknowledge that altruism is a symptom... which means he can’t ethically take Benjamin’s money. House tells Park to send Benjamin home and check the net worth of their other patients.

As House goes through the lobby, he finds Hadley waiting for him. She tells him to stop calling her, and has already figured that he’s under house arrest. Hadley insists that she’s not a doctor anymore, but he figures that she’s healthy and figures she’s quit because she’s fallen in love with someone and enjoy the time she has left. She admits that she’s met a girl and is going to Greece, but House points out that she doesn’t want a nice boring life. Hadley tells him again to stop calling and walks away, but House notes that she’s giving mixed signals and he’s going to go by what she’s doing by showing up rather than what she’s saying.

Park wants to run one more test on Benjamin’s leg muscles before discharging him. Adams admits that Benjamin scares her because of his overly generous nature, but Park says that Benjamin is making Adams feel guilty. The leg muscles are fine, but Benjamin starts having arrhythmia.

Park reports to House that there definitely is something wrong with Benjamin. Adams arrives with coffee for everyone and refuses to take Park’s money. Park suggests that Benjamin has Whipple’s, and that the generosity is a symptom of neurological impairment. Adams suggests a reaction to antihistamines due to long QT and House goes to flush Benjamin’s system personally. As he does so, he talks about his guilt about losing his temper, getting his team fired, and being unable to heal patients. Benjamin offers him a million dollars to put together a new diagnostic team, and House points out how Benjamin agreed so readily to give money on the basis of a two-minute sob story. Benjamin asks if that’s so bad and House admits that he’s not big on ethics.

House goes to see Wilson and asks if it’s okay to take sex from a sexaholic. Wilson knows about Benjamin and says that taking money from a sick person is unethical. However, he has second thoughts when he learns that Benjamin wants to donate a million dollars. Wilson is called away to a patient who needs a kidney transplant, and House figures that it’s all moot and Benjamin is just a decent person. Unimpressed, Wilson says that he can’t take the money.

As Park informs Benjamin that he might have long QT, he admits that he lost his wife Kate when he stated giving away his money, and she took their two boys with them. However, he insists that having a family doesn’t exempt him from his social responsibilities. Park believes that family is more important but Benjamin points out that he’s paying more child support than they need, and he can’t justify more when other people’s children are suffering. Benjamin’s hands start trembling and Park realizes it’s not long QT.

House and his team meet in the cafeteria, and Park tries to give Adams a free cup of coffee to make up for the earlier “gift.” Park still thinks that it’s neurological, and argues with Adams. House speculates that Adams feels rich guilt, but she gives him a list of drugs that might have caused Benjamin’s symptoms. Park disagrees, noting that Benjamin would be getting better since he can’t take drugs, and Adams suggests an echovirus, which might cause personality changes, and House tells them to treat with antivirals.

That night, House calls Hadley where she’s at home with her new girlfriend, Amy. Hadley reluctantly gives him help with his laptop computer, but worries he’ll read too much into it. She admits that he was right about what he said, but she’s not going to work with him. However, she does want to be friends after what he did for her a year ago. House fakes more computer problems and Hadley agrees to come in, only for House to ask her to go out of her way to get Chinese takeout.

In the locker room, Adams gives Park an extra pair of shoes that she got on a two-for-one sale. Park says that her car is in the shop and she can’t afford them, but Adams insists that they were free and leaves them with her.

When House arrives at work the next day, Wilson wants to know what Benjamin’s status is. When House says that he’s discharging him, Wilson explains that Benjamin signed up to donate a kidney to his patient with renal failure. House realizes that he was wrong and Benjamin’s mental status is declining. Wilson figures that Benjamin is just a nice guy, but House points out that he said the exact opposite the previous day. They take the matter to Foreman, and House argues that if they don’t know what disease is involved, it could be dangerous to give the kidney to Wilson’s patient. Wilson figures that nothing could be more dangerous than renal failure. Foreman asks Benjamin why he’s donating a kidney, and Benjamin says that it’s necessary given the shortage of donors. He promises to give House his money as well, and Foreman agrees to let him be a donor. As they leave, Benjamin insists that his generosity isn’t a symptom and he will give House the money.

House tells Park that they have time for one more test to confirm if an echovirus is involved. She still believes it might be Whipple’s, but House points out that there’s no joint pain. When he wonders where Adams is, Park says that she went to a job interview. They get to House’s office and Park is surprised to see Hadley there. Hadley tries to rationalize it but House isn’t interested. She figures that it’s Whipple’s and defends her diagnosis, saying that lack of joint pain isn’t definitive. House agrees, pointing out that Park should have defended her theory, and tells her to test. Once she leaves, House figures that Hadley feels guilty about going to have fun, and she insists that she just wants to be happy.

At the clinic, House examines Clancy, a young boy with a rash on his hands. When the boy’s mother, Carol, notes that their neighbors have a new pool and that Clancy has spent a lot of time there, House concludes the boy is allergic to his mother’s lilac hand lotion... and that the neighbor wife or daughter is really hot. He gives Clancy a bottle of lube and leaves.

House checks on Park, who reports that her current batch of tests are negative so far. He’s found a gift for her from Adams and gives it to her. House figures that Park got Adams the job interview and it’s a thank-you gift, but Park insists that she doesn’t like owing people. House is eager to analyze why, but Park says it’s just icky, much to his surprise. The tests come up negative for Whipple’s and House figures that they’ve done what they can.

In the operating theater, Simpson and Wilson prepare to remove Benjamin’s kidney. He tells them that he’s sure he wants to donate and that it will make him very happy. However, Benjamin’s blood pressure drops and they call off the surgery.

Adams and Park report on the newest symptom and Foreman comes in. He tells House that he knows he did something to Benjamin to cause the new symptoms. House denies it, but Foreman says that he knows him too well and orders him off the case. Once Foreman leaves, House admits that he’s right. He goes up on the balcony to taunt the janitor and Adams comes over and asks why he dosed the patient. House figures she’s interpreting his actions in the best possible way because she didn’t get the job. He wonders why she’s trying to force gifts on Park, and Adams admits that it was curiosity at first, but now she plans to win. House notes that the last gift wasn’t enough and says that Adams has to do something that Park can’t reciprocate so that even she realizes she’s not crazy. He then gets an idea and calls Hadley.

Hadley goes to see Benjamin and notices his wife Kate outside. She admits that she wanted to see Benjamin, but can’t understand why he’s giving a kidney to someone he’s never met. Kate refuses to go in, and admits that she can’t stand the fact that Benjamin loves other people more than his family. She walks away and Hadley goes into Benjamin’s room and says that she also needs a kidney. Benjamin immediately volunteers to give her his second kidney while still donating the first one. He’ll live on dialysis for years and then die and donate his other organs to save even more people. Hadley leaves and calls to say that they need a diagnostician because Benjamin is nuts.

Back in House’s office, House finally gets sick of the noise from the orthopedic saw, goes into his old conference room, and pulls the plug on it. They come up with only one improbably diagnosis, but it’s the best they have. Hadley goes to manage the treatment, and House goes after her and asks if she’s on the team or not. Hadley wonders if she can justify squandering her gift simply to go off and have fun, and wonders if it’s wrong. House says that obviously it’s not and Hadley leaves.

House goes to see Wilson, who confirms that his patient died. Wilson is surprised to hear that House conned Hadley into coming back despite his lack of money and office space, and House gets an idea. He explains that he brought Benjamin in under false pretenses to get his money and ordered random tests. One was a head CT, which uses iodine contrast. Benjamin has Plummer’s Disease, a nodule on his thyroid that produces excess hormones. It doesn’t produce enough to register on a test, but it does cause irrationality and overheating. When House gave him the iodine contrast, it caused all the subsequent symptoms.

After removing the nodule, House asks Benjamin for the money. Benjamin points out that House made him sick and says that he’s an ass, and that facing death has given him a new perspective. Benjamin insists that he’ll still give money, but House figures that he’ll do less and that people will suffer. He also points out that he was an ass a week ago. Benjamin insists that he wants to be with his family and that doesn’t make him a bad person, and House says that it only makes him a healthy person.

Park confronts Adams and says that she’s learned that Adams spent $4,500 to pay for repairs to her car. Adams tells her to smile and say thank you, or she’ll do even more, and Park does so. She then goes to tell House that his car is being fixed and Adams went for it. He offers her a lift because her car is still in the shop, but Park refuses saying she doesn’t take charity. She’s glad it’s over, but House warns that it’s never over.

As House leaves for the night, he sees Hadley go to her girlfriend Amy. As the couple kiss, House calls Hadley over and tells her that she’s fired. He tells her that he can work with almost anyone except someone that is there so they won’t feel bad. Hadley figures that he’s trying to save her and House denies it, but she doesn’t believe it. She thanks him and leaves.