The November 22, 2010 episode of “House” was about a man named Ramon Silva, who “made a deal with God” that if he nailed himself to a cross every year, his daughter would be cancer free. On the fourth anniversary of his annual crucifixion, he started spitting up blood from the mouth, and was admitted to a hospital:
Patient: When Marissa [his daughter] was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, stage 4 Glioblastoma, doctors said she had two months to live. That’s when I made my bargain.
Dr. House: With your health insurance carrier?
Patient: With God.
Dr. House: Ahh.
Patient: I told him I would nail myself to a cross every year he kept her alive.
Dr. House: So how did that negotiation go—you low-balled with ear piercing, God countered?
Patient: Three weeks later she was cancer free. That was four years ago.
Dr. House: We’re hardwired for answers…Problem is when we don’t find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one. Ritual is what happens when we run out of rational.
Marissa (to Dr. House): You don’t believe in God?
Dr. House: I did, then I grew my curly hairs.
Dr. Chase: If you’re done mocking him, we really need to prep for an LP.
Dr. House: Good, another hole in him should make God’s day.
Later on in the episode, Dr. House and his team of doctors are trying to figure out what caused their patient to bleed from the mouth when he was on the cross. At the patient’s bedside, trying to ascertain why the patient wasn’t more concerned about his condition, the following conversation ensues:
Dr. House: 33-year-old carpenter presenting narcissism, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations.
Dr. Taub: He hasn’t had hallucinations.
Dr. House: I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about Him, with a capital O-M-G.
Dr. Chase: You want us to do a differential diagnosis on Jesus?
Ms. Masters: Thinks he’s the son of God, probably schizophrenic.
Dr. House: I think you offended him.
Dr. Taub: You’re saying the patient’s religious extremism could be a symptom?
Dr. Foreman: A neuro-disorder could explain all his delusions.
Dr. House: Get an MRI of his brain, see if we can find God.
After troubleshooting with his team, Dr. House visits his patient:
Patient: You didn’t come to see if I was better. You came to see if your medicine has turned me into an atheist.
Dr. House: I’d settle for agnostic.
Patient: Faith is not a disease.
Dr. House: No, of course not. On the other hand, it is communicable and it kills a lot of people.
After much debate over whether or not the patient has Multiple Sclerosis, Dr. House concludes that he does in fact have MS, and the only way to combat it is to treat it with embryonic stem cells:
Dr. House: You’re correct, he has MS. But not the friendly, Mr. Rogers MS, this is the weird guy in the panel van kind.
Ms. Masters: Marburg MS?
Dr.House: What did I just say?
Ms. Masters: He’ll be dead in 2-3 days at the most.
Dr. House: That’s unless we can get someone to nail themselves to a cross as soon as possible. Or, stem cell treatment.
Dr. Taub: That’s an experimental treatment.
Dr. Foreman: That’s our best shot.
Dr. Chase: It would be if it wasn’t embryonic stem cell treatment. Our patient’s right of the pope—he’s never going to consent to that.
After being told that embryonic stem cell treatment is his only option, the patient is very upset:
Patient: Accepting this treatment is an insult to God. I can’t expect him to keep our deal.
Dr. House: You already broke it. Blood test said you were loaded with ibuprofen.
Patient: Taking pain killers breaks my deal?
Dr. House: The point is to suffer like your savior, right? Well he didn’t take murr, the Tylenol of ancient Rome. And his nails went through his wrists, not his palms. Palms are for sissies. What about the 39 lashes and the beatings and the crown of thorns? What you go through is closer to a bad manicure than a crucifixion.
Patient: It’s not about showing Him my pain. It’s about showing Him my faith. If He asks me to die for my daughter, I’ll do it gladly.
Dr. House: Don’t make this about your daughter. You’re just worried we’d find you a cure that will cost you your faith. Then you’ll be like the rest of us.
Patient: Alone and afraid?
After the doctors recruit the patient’s daughter, Marissa, to try to convince her father to go along with the stem cell treatment, the patient still refuses:
Marissa: God doesn’t want you to die, He doesn’t want anyone to die. He’s all about love.
Patient: I know this is coming from your mother…
Marissa: This is coming from me. I’m the one who almost died, I know what it’s like. And you’re my dad and you can’t die.
Patient: I wish I didn’t have to.
Marissa: You don’t have to, Daddy. Just take the medicine, you always tell me to take the medicine, please.
Patient: One day, you’re going to understand.
Marissa: No, I’m not. I’m never going to understand that. If God could do this, I hate God.
Dr. House visits his patient, alone, to try to convince him to take the stem cell treatment:
Dr. House: The PET-scan was for your daughter. I was wrong about her, she did have Glioblastoma. And she still does, the cancer never went away. Looks like God broke your deal. I’m sorry. I’m also right.
Patient: You’re a bastard. Do whatever you want to me.
After administering the stem cell treatment, Dr. House revisits his patients with good news about his daughter’s condition:
Dr. House: It’s clean. She’s fine. My bad. Got her mixed up with Marion Silver.
Patient: You tricked me. God didn’t break our deal, I did. You led me into temptation and I followed.
Dr. House: God will punish you for that.
Patient: He has to.
Dr. House: If He didn’t, that would make you wonder, wouldn’t it.
Dr. House: You broke your deal with Him, your daughter is fine, you’re getting better. Nothing bad happened. Which can only mean one thing: There is no God.
Patient: This doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist. It just means he’s truly merciful.
Dr. House: Punishment is proof of God and no punishment is proof of God. Ingenious argument.
Patient: Faith isn’t an argument.