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House MD Guide :: Blogs & Answers ::   Performance Reviews:
House's Team

Introduction to Performance Reviews

This blog is an analysis of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine, designed to examine the performance of House and his team: doctors Chase, Cameron and Foreman from Seasons 1-3, the Season 4 fellowship applicants, and doctors Foreman, Taub, Thirteen and Kutner in Season 5. Only patients treated by the entire team are considered. With a few exceptions, this made for one patient a week.

Only the performances of House and his team (the Housepets) are evaluated here. When another character made a diagnosis s/he is given credit, and I have noted some occasions when Wilson or Cuddy contributed to the diagnosis simply for interest's sake. The performances of Wilson and Cuddy are not reviewed here, however.

Each episode was broken down by working backwards, that is, from the correct diagnosis. Each character's actions were considered in hindsight. Wrong diagnoses are excluded as a result. This simplified things greatly, but left out a lot too. Essentially, what was considered was how the case in question was solved.

Credit was awarded for a diagnosis when the malady was specified enough to be treated. For example it's not enough to say "an infection", the character had to say where the infection was in the body and what bacteria, fungi or virus was causing it.

Errors by a team member, such as Cameron failing to spot the patient's lack of a cervix during a pelvic exam in Skin Deep, were not noted because most seemed to be due to errors by the writers, not the characters. Errors were noted only when 1) the error was pointed out by another character and 2) the error delayed diagnosis. This included refusals to treat ill patients, which would have resulted in the patient not being diagnosed if the other characters did not intervene, and in some cases other failures to properly perform their duties as a physician.

The correct diagnosis was awarded to the first character to suggest it. Many times House would come up with the final solution, but would present it to his fellows in such a way that one of them would be the first to say the words. In these cases, credit was still awarded to House.

Suggestions by the characters that contributed to getting the correct diagnosis and/or later proved correct were given credit. Demonstration of obscure knowledge and suggestions for creative treatments and diagnostic methods were also given credit. These were included only if it appeared that no one else was going to think of it; because I am not a medical expert, I may be wrong in some of my interpretations.

Credit was given when a character spotted something on a test that other characters couldn't see. Again, House would sometimes spot something and point it out; credit here was given to House. These occasions were noted only when the others (or most of them) looked at the same test and failed to see the significant result.

Initial Symptoms are the symptoms the patient had when the case was assigned to the team, and does not include symptoms developed later. They may not fully tally with the final diagnosis as a result, but were listed just for record-keeping purposes so it doesn't matter.

Final Diagnoses are the final diagnoses relevant to the patient's condition. For example, the patient in Heavy admitted to using diet pills, but in the end her condition (and symptoms) had nothing to do with diet pills. Diet pills were therefore not considered a final diagnosis.

Information from the House medical reviews at Polite Dissent was used in my evaluations, and I thank Scott for posting them. Any errors are mine alone. I would also like to thank the transcribers at clinic_duty.

Analyses for season one are found here, season two here, season three here, season 4 here, and season 5 here. Summaries for each season are here. A list of the diseases featured on the show and the episodes in which they appeared is here; over time I plan to include links on that list for more information.



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