House M.D.: Season 1, Episode 4

Maternity (7 Dec. 2004)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery
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A nightmare scenario hits Princeton Plainsboro when babies in the maternity ward are hit by a potentially fatal epidemic. Clinic Cases: Woman with a parasite!


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Hartig
Hospital Attorney
Judy Lupino
Kim Chen (as Alexandra Chun)
Dr. Kubisak (as Ben Parrillo)
Ethan Hartig


Two babies in separate delivery rooms delivered by separate staff become deathly ill within minutes of birth. Even though there's no way to explain how an infection could spread between them so quickly, the team must find some way to prevent an epidemic they can't yet identify. In chasing the killer, House must make a choice: give both babies the same treatment and loose both if he's wrong, or give them separate treatments to assure a positive ID of the illness, but also assuring that one of the babies will die. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

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Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

7 December 2004 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the infants is stated to have a blood pressure of 80/40 and that it's dangerously low. In fact, this is well within standard range for a newborn. See more »


Dr. Allison Cameron: It's easier to die than watch someone die.
See more »


Dr. House - Titelsong
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User Reviews

11 June 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

After the relatively light-hearted Occam's Razor, the fourth episode of House goes in a more serious direction, offering 40 minutes of very intense storytelling, as far removed as possible from Bryan Singer's more humorous approach (ironically, Maternity is directed by Singer collaborator Newton Thomas Sigel, best known as a cinematographer).

The scenario presented by the episode is the textbook definition of "nightmarish": several babies in the maternity ward start showing similar symptoms, suggesting that Princeton Plainsboro has been hit by a potentially fatal epidemic. As the case turns into a race against the clock, House has to make extraordinary use of his brilliant mind, while still finding time to mock his staff.

Like a perfectly paced thriller, Maternity moves quickly, focusing more on dramatic tension than character development, which, given the case-of-the-week structure of the series, isn't a big problem. Besides, there is some room for humor, as House's clinical case allows for a hilarious discussion about "parasites" and yet another showcase of Hugh Laurie's impeccable sarcasm. Very, very good.

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