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Autopsy (House)

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Episode no.
Season 2 Episode 2

Written by
Lawrence Kaplow

Directed by
Deran Sarafian

Original air date
September 20, 2005 (2005-09-20)

"Autopsy" is the second episode of the second season of House, which premiered on the Fox network on September 20, 2005. House and team struggle to diagnose a young girl whose cancer is not causing her more immediate symptoms.



House and his team struggle to find the cause of hallucinations that Andie (Sasha Pieterse) is seeing. She is a 9-year-old girl with terminal cancer (alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma), but tests reveal that her cancer is in remission, meaning that the hallucinations are unrelated to her cancer. Meanwhile, House questions Andie's motives for her bravery, suggesting it may itself be a symptom of a problem in her amygdala.

House discovers a benign tumor in her heart, which is surgically removed, but it does not account for the hallucinations. House deduces that there must be a clot which the cancer deployed prior to removal. He suggests employing therapeutic hypothermia to discover the clot, which does not show on an angiography: Cooling her body temperature down to 21° Celsius will stop her heart, effectively making her clinically dead. Then the doctors will remove 2-3 liters of blood and discover the clot when the blood is pumped back in. House compares this procedure to "performing an autopsy on a living person."

The blood removal and temperature can not be held for more than 60 seconds or she will suffer permanent damage. Wilson calls it a "lottery shot", but finding the clot will give her an additional year to live. In a tense moment Foreman finds the clot, which only appeared for a fraction of a second, and with his direction the surgery is successful.

Wilson confronts House about the placement of the blood clot – it was not in her amygdala. House concedes he was wrong about Andie's bravery being a symptom of her clot, but replies to Wilson saying the girl is dead anyway. Wilson states that Andie could outlive him. When Andie is leaving the hospital she hugs each of the staff, finally reaching House, who stands and looks awkward as she hugs him. Andie tells House, "It's sunny outside, you should go for a walk."

As House is leaving the hospital he stands and admires some motorcycles. He asks the salesman if he can take one for a test ride. The episode ends with House riding the motorcycle down a long stretch of empty road.


The song "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera is featured at both ends of the episode. Andie sings along with the original in the opening scene; at the end, Elvis Costello's cover version plays as House test-drives the motorcycle. The song "In The Deep" by Bird York is played during the operating scene.


Writer Lawrence Kaplow won a Writers Guild of America Award in 2006 for this episode.


Autopsy (House) Wikipedia

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