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HOUSE M.D.: "Lines in the Sand"

USA2006(60 min)

Every week on Fox, Dr. House takes on the cases that intrigue him most, the cases no one else can solve. On this particular week he chose a severely autistic boy, Adam, who is approximately 12 years old and whose only visible symptom is screaming. He does not speak or look you in the eye. The television show presented his point of view as slightly overexposed, creating ‘his view’ of the world. Emphasizing the language barrier between the physicians and Adam, this episode uses autism as a philosophical starting point for a debate among the doctors about the quality of life both for the son and his parents. Unfortunately the episode is forced to stick to normal House format— focusing on the facts of the case rather than interacting with the patient. Thus, there is not much positive reinforcement for the parents’ loving treatment of their son, which counters the doctors’ negative views of their supposed lowered quality of life. Throughout the treatment, the doctors clearly do not understand the special steps required to treat a child like Adam and are not exactly patient enough to learn. Dr. Foreman tries to force away a toy that the parents explain he must finish before he moves. Every time they need a sample or a scan, Dr. Foreman actively tries to avoid participating because of the difficulty involved in calming down Adam. In the end, however, House reveals his own soft spot for the boy because he sees a bit of himself in him. In return for saving him, Adam gives House his PSP game he has been clinging to throughout the episode—a gift that creates a heartwarming ending.

Shelbi Jay

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