Apr 05

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House episode, featuring hoarding

In the hospital, is a science teacher suffering from a severe respiratory illness, and when the team inspected the patient’s home for clues to his illness, immediately learn that he is a hoarder. But on a second visit for more information, find something in piles shocked many.


Permanent link to this article: http://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/?p=1914

  • Sid

    Link broken? Must see. Please help. Trapped under something heavy. Need ideas.

  • Episode recap, from TIME Healthland:


    Just then, of course, the patient coughs up actual blood.

    Taub and Foreman search the man’s home, which is so packed with old books and furniture and bicycles that they believe he’s a hoarder. There’s even a dead cat in the freezer. The place has so much mold that Foreman believes he has aspergillosis, a fungal infection.

    The two doctors then confront the patient, who says he’s not a hoarder, “just a major slob.” Taub then points out that the man saves earwax — apparently his home contains a 2-ft. pile of used Q-tips.

    But it turns out that aspergillosis can’t be the diagnosis because the teacher’s condition is getting worse at the hospital, in the absence of fungi — his pain has intensified, and he needs oxygen. Foreman wonders if the problem isn’t exposure to toxins in the messy home but lack of exposure to the carbon monoxide emitted at low levels from the man’s heater. CO acts as a vasodilator, which means it keeps blood pressure from rising too high.

    And yet when the teacher’s home is checked again, Chase and Masters find no sign of CO. However, Chase does find raccoon droppings that the hoarder has saved in the kitchen. Now the most plausible diagnosis is Q fever, a bacterial animal infection that humans can get when they inhale contaminated animal excrement.

    Chase and Masters also find something more important in the home: a woman hiding under a blue tarp. She turns out to the teacher’s wife, and she is actually the hoarder. Once the wife is checked into the hospital, she has a heart attack, which wouldn’t be caused by Q fever.

    Foreman then comes to believe the problem is hydrogen sulfide, a chemical given off by rotting food. But when Chase checks the home for the chemical, he finds only about 2 parts per billion, “the size of a healthy fart.”

    The dogged Masters finds baby clothes hidden in a closet. She suggests that infertility could have led to the hoarding as a way “to fill the void.” House orders the team to find out whether the infertile one is the man or his wife. In the funniest line of the episode, he says, “Figure out which is fried, the bacon or the eggs.”

    The final diagnosis turns out to be Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue, although the writers do a shoddy job of explaining exactly how the syndrome could have caused all the symptoms.

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/12/house-watch-what-causes-obsessive-hoarding/#ixzz1JKlzWrAc