Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Arts & Exhibits

'House' watching doctor uses show to save dying man's life

See also

Saving a patient's life by watching "House" or some other medical drama series on television sounds like something too scripted to be true -- like some clever plot for a television show. But in one German man's case, it turned out to be exactly that -- true. He was saved from death because a doctor happened to be a great fan of Dr. Gregory House and realized the problem with a patient just might be like something he had seen on "House, M. D."

For many, watching actor Hugh Laurie as a somewhat sociopathic doctor whose genius was in analyzing rare and strange medical conditions was great entertainment. As the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Feb. 7, Dr. Juergen Schaefer diagnosed a 55-year-old man whose condition had perplexed many other doctors. And he did it, he said, in five minutes simply by recalling one particular episode of the Fox hit television drama "House" where like symptoms had presented on the show.

Schaefer said the man's symptoms were a perfect match with a patient, played by the legendary Candice Bergen, on an episode in which the fictional Dr. House identified cobalt poisoning as the cause.

The patient's other doctors had diagnosed a condition requiring a heart transplant.

Recounting the case in the medical journal Lancet (posted Friday), Schaeffer and his colleagues tested the man's cobalt levels after hearing that the patient had complained that his problems began after his previous operation, one where he had a broken ceramic hip replaced. Small fragments of the ceramic hip had been left after the operation and were grinding into the metal replacement, which, in turn, leaked cobalt and chromium into the patient's bloodstream.

After the hip was replaced once more, the patient's heart got better and his other symptoms improved.

But Schaeffer's out-of-the-box diagnosis was some fortuitous recall exercise. No, the good doctor, according to Time magazine, actually teaches medical students using "House" to explain rare diseases. The particular episode regarding cobalt poisoning was also fresh in his memory. And Schaeffer literally wrote the book on how to apply "House" to real medical cases, penning Housemedizin: Die Diagnosen von "Dr. House.”

"House" ran for eight seasons on Fox Television (2004-2012) and was the most-watched television show in the world in 2008, according to AFP.

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Coachella
    The set times you need to know have been announced for Coachella
    Festival Buzz
  • Lamar Odom
    The New York Knicks are giving Lamar Odom another shot in the NBA
    Video
    NBA Buzz
  • Porsha Williams
    See why 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star Porsha Williams posed for this mug shot
    Video
    TV News
  • NHL tickets
    If you're looking to catch an NHL playoff game in NYC, don't expect to do so on a budget
    NHL Buzz
  • Transcendence
    Review: ‘Transcendence’ fascinates, but does it rise above the field?
    Movies Buzz
  • Kobe Bryant
    Kobe Bryant has agreed to cooperate with an all-access documentary about his life
    Video
    Sports Buzz

Related Videos:

  • 'Mad Men' season 7 episode "A Day's Work" continues with Don and Megan very distant in their marriage and not just because they live so far away from each other.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518149386" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518149386&autoStart=true"></div>
  • 'Star Trek: Horizon' announces Kickstarter campaign
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LVf0RA2MZlE?VQ=HD720&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Ryan Seacrest
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518201938" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518201938&autoStart=true"></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!