“House” & Difficult Decisions


October 13, 2005 10:25 PM

Tonight’s episode of House was really moving. One story of the 3-story arc (ever notice most TV shows follow this structure?) was that of a husband and a wife who’s 28 weeks into her pregnancy. She’s 39 and this is her last chance to have a baby. But she has accelerated lung cancer.

She needs to undergo chemo and radio-therapy. To not kill the baby, it has to be delivered prematurely via caesarean section. The wife wants to wait: the baby is more important to her. The husband disagrees: his wife is more important to him and if she waits, the cancer would definitely kill her. If the baby is born prematurely at least they both have a chance to live. So the decision see-sawed throughout the episode. And in the end, she died and the baby lived.


I notice that one element of all good dramas is their ability to pose dilemmas that cause you to think: what would I do in that situation? Me? I would have been like the husband and tried to save my wife. Having a child of my own blood is not that important to me. I can always adopt. Then again I’m not a woman so I will never ever understand the ticking of the biological clock.

What would you do?

8 thoughts on ““House” & Difficult Decisions

  1. ~*Starryluvly*~

    I actually found it a bit ridiculous for her to wait a week just so that the baby’s likelihood of survival would increase by ten percent, when it would decrease her own survival rate much more significantly.

    Also, there’s no point saving the baby when there’s no mother. So I’d probably go for a more “balanced” option.

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  2. mooiness

    starry: I think in her state of mind plus the fact she has had 2 miscarriages before, she thought that to maximise the chances of the baby surviving is more impt. I don’t think she really cared about herself anymore.

    And when she sorta turned around from her decision, it was too late.

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  3. mooiness

    miss L: she had been carrying the baby for 28 weeks so didn’t want to just “throw it away” so to speak. And in the show they did show that she wasn’t capable of making a rational decision in her emotional state.

    And by the time she did, it was too late and the doctors had to keep improvising up till the last minute.

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  4. ~*Starryluvly*~

    Yes you’re right, she wanted to maximise the baby’s survival. But I just feel it would have made more sense to wait if it increased the baby’s survival from 40 to 70 percent. Not by just ten percent.

    House did make a good point tho, in telling her she was being selfish by choosing to die for the baby.

    But what do I know? I’m not in the situation, and I hope I never am.

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  5. the virgin undergrad

    yes! House, MD is brilliant isn’t it! it’s me and my housemates’ favourite tv show!

    both the mum and the baby could have been saved if not for that rich bastard who took her off the experimental treatment for fear of fucking up the statistics of the test treatment and consequently his profit margin.

    personally, from the hubby’s perspective, i think it would have been right to put his wife’s life as a greater priority. i mean, while there’s all the stuff about respecting the choice of your spouse etc, but love certainly transcends that of the need for an offspring. between someone who you will be spending the rest of your life with, and a baby who has hardly any emotional attachment to you apart from the genetic traits you share, the choice is clear.

    and i felt it was kinda reprehensible for her wife to save her baby at the expense of her own life, not the least to her hubby. how could she possibly bear to let her hubby face the prospect of losing the love of his life and bring up the kid all alone? House was right, she’s just plain selfish to her husband.

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