Season 3 Episode 17

Fetal Position

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 03, 2007 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
720 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A famous celebrity photographer suffers from a stroke while being pregnant in her early forties. House and his team have to deal with a great dilemma, save the mother or risk both lives to save her unborn child.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Cuddy turns into House

    This is one of the classic episodes that pop up now and again throughout the Season. Despite the Season not being consistently perfect, this one is right up there with the best.

    I thought the debate of fetus vs baby was a good one, and I thought the right decision was made overall. I am pro abortion, but I think Cuddy shone in this episode as she tried to protect the babies life on the wishes of the mother.

    Cuddy showed how very like House she can be- she is very smart, and willing to do dangerous procedures. I thought it was very touching when House said she wasn't an idiot! Their attraction seems to be growing.

    The patient was very interesting, and I loved her flirtation with House- they seemed to fit each other pretty well, and it was one of the best connections he had since "Control" in Season 1. The episode brought out classic moments from the Season- it was like a perfected "Maternity".

    I especially loved the camera shots of House "caring" and of Chase's awakening feelings for Cameron. They developed the characters storyline nicely. House being alone and miserable was a slight damper- I wish he took that vacation!

    Overall, one of the best episodes- classically writter and brilliantly acted, raising morale issues without being insensitive to either side of the arguement.moreless
  • Cuddy really shines in this episode.

    This episode really looks like Cuddy's shining point, she is so awesome in this episode. The patient was bit nuts though, she would rather die than abort the baby & save her life. All-American Rejects guest stars!That was cool how he was part of the cold opening, I like how the patient showed how Chase really had feelings for Cameron when it made him shine. Cuddy turned nuts in this episode, anything to save the baby. An episode with great guest stars, and key point personal scenes plus with the scenes of the patient, & the baby lives, Cuddy was right, I like how Cuddy stepped in to House's shoes. Great episode!moreless
  • It certainly tackles the question of when a "fetus" becomes a "baby". In fact, some of the negative reviews of this episode say more about degree of offense to the reviewers' pro-abortion views than they do about House.moreless

    House is obviously moved by the incident, but I would have to wonder if anyone who thinks there is any danger of House becoming either religious or pro-life over the long term actually watches the show. Even though I am both, I enjoy the way the show generally explores topics of faith and science in a respectful way, even if House himself does not. There is often an inverse relationship between faith and intelligence. This is not to denigrate people of faith (including myself!) as unintelligent, but to say that it is often the hardest for people who know they are smart and think they know everything (like House) to ever come to a place where they can accept the idea that Something or Someone is bigger and smarter than they are.

    I don't see House changing permanently because this attitude of his and how it affects those around him is part of the reason the show is so popular and successful. And yet many people long for him to change, at least a little, and so showing an occasional chink in the armor he has built up around himself, as when the baby reached his hand out of the womb and grabbed House's finger, is welcome every time they do it.moreless
  • A look into Lisa Cuddy's head. . . or heart.

    This was an episode that really got into Lisa Edelstein's character. What House said was very true - Cuddy was not treating the patient, she was treating herself.

    Fetal Position was different in many ways. Wilson was barely included. The team came up with the correct diagnosis long before the end of the show. It was Cuddy, not House, pushing for the most extreme treatment that could have easily killed both baby and mother.

    This episode was also out of the ordinary because House's icy exterior seemed to thaw. Dare I say, he actually had FEELINGS. It is only for one show, but they are there!moreless
  • Cuddy and House switch roles and she tries to safe a woman's unborn child with a very dangerous treatment.

    When a pregnant woman in her forties collapses and is at risk of losing her life or the baby, Cuddy takes drastic methods to keep the baby alive. House, who thinks Cuddy just compares the woman's case to her own life, would treat her differently, maybe mainly because he's planning a vacation. Eventually, roles are switched in Princeton Plainsboro and while Cuddy takes one dangerous course after another, House tries to stop her.

    Being a fan of Cuddy, it was very interesting to see her act as a "real" doctor again, after she has spent the main time of the show as House's boss and dean of medicine. She tries to persuade everyone around her that the dangerous course she's taking is the right one and House on the other hand was a little bit out of character because he just gave up on the baby. I very much liked the medical case in this episode, mainly because of the surgery, which was very impressing, and the way the ethical decision whether to keep the baby or terminate the pregnancy affected Cuddy and the rest of the team. I think episodes like this, with an ethical dilemna everyone has to deal with, are definetly the strenght of this show.

    Great episode, above average and one of my favourite ones.moreless
Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Dr. Gregory House

Jennifer Morrison

Jennifer Morrison

Dr. Allison Cameron

Jesse Spencer

Jesse Spencer

Dr. Robert Chase

Lisa Edelstein

Lisa Edelstein

Dr. Lisa Cuddy

Omar Epps

Omar Epps

Dr. Eric Foreman

Robert Sean Leonard

Robert Sean Leonard

Dr. James Wilson

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When Cuddy is overlooking the Baby ward at 14 minutes in, there is only one real baby, the rest are robots or bundles of blankets. Babies when first born kick a lot and the robots in the peripheral "cribs" aren't moving at all.

    • Emma takes photos of Dr. House in landscape format with a short lens, but the print shown was taken in portrait format with a long lens.

    • House says that he will travel to Argentina where the Mocovi Indians would carry him to the top of the Aconcagua. Well, the Aconcagua is in Mendoza and the Mocovies are in Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and Chaco, several hundreds of kilometers from the Aconcagua and any other mountain, hill or bump in the ground (these three provinces are plains, with lot of rivers and some forests, but no mountain). Also, the chance of finding pure non-integrated Mocovies, living in the traditional fashion, is very slim. Most of them are adapted to modern urban, suburban or country life.

  • QUOTES (31)

    • Dr. Cameron: Transesophageal echo.
      Dr. Chase: Can't access his esophagus.
      Dr. Foreman: High resolution CT could give us a clearer...
      Dr. Chase: Too much radiation for a one-pound person.
      House: You can't just shoot everything down, Chase. You're not me. Collaborate.
      Dr. Chase: A ventilation perfusion scan would be next.
      House: How do we get a fetus to breathe in a radioactive isotope, idiot?

    • House: What would we do if this patient were not just a tadpole? Say it was an actual person.
      Dr. Cuddy: He is a person.
      House: Thanks for playing along.

    • (After Chase backs Cameron up)
      House: Oh, look! Sticking up for your girlfriend. Who says chivalry is dead?
      Foreman: (to Cameron) He's not joking?
      House: Be patient. She's going through all of us. She'll get that jungle fever eventually.

    • (while looking a photography of Dr. House)
      Dr. Foreman: This is definitely different.
      Dr. Chase: It looks almost like...
      Dr. Cameron: ...he is caring.

    • Cuddy (to House): Go away, and be happy.

    • Dr. Cuddy: The baby won't feel a thing.
      House: Fetus! ... I'm lowering expectations. It works here and on dates.

    • House: We need another scan.
      Dr. Foreman: Yeah, we can just ask the fetus to lie, very, very, still.
      House: No need, I'm going to paralyze it.

    • Dr. Cameron: I've read that the outcome of Mirror Syndrome is almost always unfavorable.
      House: "Unfavorable," is that doctor-speak for dead baby?

    • Dr. Chase: Did House say anything else? About us?
      Dr. Cameron: Why do you care?
      Dr. Chase: Because I like my job.
      Dr. Cameron: He can't fire you because we're together...
      Dr. Chase: We're not "together" and House can do whatever he wants.

    • Dr. Cameron: My social life is my social life!
      House: Couldn't agree more. What goes on in the privacy of the janitor's closet is nobody's business.

    • Dr. Cuddy: Did you give cortical steroids to speed the baby's lung development?
      House: No, I dropped an anvil on its chest to prevent lung development. I'm trying to extinguish the human race one fetus at a time.

    • House: My real patient is dying, very quickly, like, I wouldn't advise her to buy any green bananas.

    • Dr. Cuddy: If you're playing catch in the living room and you break your mother's vase, you may as well keep playing catch because the vase is already broken.

    • Dr. Cameron: Medicine doesn't work faster just because you hope real hard.

    • Dr. Foreman: We'll go look at her heart.
      House: Easy to find it's the big, red pumping thing about 10 inches below her throat.

    • House: Mom's body is like an intricate German metro system. All the trains run on time.

    • House: So you take thousands of photos of someone, but only one has to look good. Kind of the opposite of my business.

    • Emma: (talking about her gay sperm donor) He took a magazine and a cup into my bathroom.
      House: A man after my own heart. Different magazine.

    • House: I'm looking for a vacation spot.
      Dr. Chase: That mean we get a vacation?
      House: How would that differ from your current status?

    • Dr. Cuddy: You want to paralyze Emma Sloan's baby?
      House: Let me guess, Cameron?
      Dr. Cuddy: Cameron and Chase, both have their concerns.
      House: No, Cameron had concerns, Chase just agreed with her because he didn't want to lose his all-access pass to her love rug.
      Dr. Cuddy: They're sleeping together?
      House: If by sleeping together you mean having sex in the janitor's closet.
      Dr. Cuddy: Here?!
      House: No, the janitor's closet at the local high school. Go Tigercats!

    • Dr. Cuddy: What are you doing?
      House: Well, you're trying to be me, so I thought I'd try to be you.
      Dr. Cuddy: You don't have the cleavage for it.
      House: But I have a much tighter ass. Do you think every day should be "Naked Tuesday," or is that an oxymoron?

    • Dr. Cuddy: It's your file.
      House: I don't want it.
      Dr. Cuddy: So why'd you say all that stuff?
      House: To humiliate you.

    • Dr. Cameron: Anybody going to stop (her)?
      Dr. Chase: Stopping the madness is her job.
      Dr. Foreman: Somebody's got to be Cuddy's Cuddy.

    • House: It's me again. Your friendly neighborhood belly-squirter.

    • House: I know you can't talk, so I need you to look petrified if you consent.

    • House: Case like this you terminate, Mom lives 10 times out of 10. You do what you did, mom and baby both die 9.9 times out of 10.
      Dr. Cuddy: Sometimes .1 is bigger than 9.9.
      House: No, it's smaller. Exactly 9.8 smaller. Always is, always will be.
      Dr. Cuddy: Well not for Emma… and not for her son.

    • Dr. Cameron: I thought you started on vacation?
      House: Someone had to save our boss's rotundous ass.

    • Dr. Cuddy: I have a whole new appreciation for what you do. How hard it is to believe when everyone around you is telling you you're wrong.
      House: It helps to know they're idiots.
      Dr. Cuddy: Do you think I'm an idiot?
      House: You're not objective… but you're not an idiot.

    • House: (about vacationing in the Galapagos) Visiting family. My uncle's a giant turtle.

    • House: Even fetuses lie.

    • Dr. Cameron: You're insane.
      House: I'm an insane genius.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Injoke: When trying to book a plane, House exclaims that he does not want a layover then lists several cities as examples, the last of which is London, Ontario. Series creator David Shore is from London, Ontario.

    • International Air Dates:
      The Netherlands: October 4, 2007 on SBS6 Greece: January 12, 2008 on Star Channel
      The Czech Republic: March 31, 2008 on TV Nova
      Germany: March 18, 2008 on RTL
      Sweden: October 21, 2008 on TV4
      Belgium: October 26, 2008 on 2BE
      Norway: November 5, 2008 on NRK

    • Music: Are You Alright? by Lucinda Williams, Bastards of Young by The Replacements


    • House: Sorry. Just realized I forgot to Tivo Alien.
      The fetus hanging outside of its mother's opened chest closely resembles scenes of the "chest-bursters" from the Alien film franchise.