House M.D.: Season 3, Episode 17

Fetal Position (3 Apr. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery
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When a pregnant woman has a stroke, the team is at a loss after all tests reveal nothing, but when her organs start shutting down Cuddy takes over the case.



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Episode cast overview:
Tyson Ritter
Fetal Surgeon
Bobbin Bergstrom ...


When a pregnant woman has a stroke, the team is at a loss after all tests reveal nothing, but when her organs start shutting down Cuddy takes over the case.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 April 2007 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The operation that House performs on the mother and fetus in this episode is closely based on a Michael Clancy photograph called "Fetal Hand Grasp", which documents a 1999 operation on a 21 week old fetus with spina bifida. During that operation, Clancy photographed what he describes as the child reaching out of the incised uterus and grasping the surgeon's finger. See more »


Dr. Lisa Cuddy: Did you give cortical steroids to speed the baby's lung development?
Dr. Gregory House: No, I dropped an anvil on its chest to prevent lung development. I'm trying to extinguish the human race one fetus at a time.
See more »


References Vertigo (1958) See more »


Are You Alright?
Written and Performed by Lucinda Williams
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User Reviews

The reviewers who label this episode "pro-life" are completely missing the point
19 May 2013 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

Let me start off by saying this: I am pro-choice, but only if the situation calls for an abortion - e.g. rape/mother or father or parents unable to provide for baby due to extreme poverty/baby won't survive past its first year etc. To me, the whole point of being pro- choice is not about "killing fetuses".

Now that we got that out of the way, let me elaborate on my review title.

I see that a lot of reviewers commented how this episode was strongly "pro-life". But they have failed to consider the following points:

House didn't try to kill the fetus/baby simply because he's pro-choice. He wanted to save what can be saved - in this case, there was a high likelihood that both of them would die if he didn't kill the fetus/baby. (99.9%) His reasoning was sound and objective, and he was not acting out of character in order to "fit the writer's agenda".

Cuddy, the heroine of the episode, was being completely emotional and put her in the patient's shoes because this was HER she was saving; this was her dream, and if this lady doesn't make it, then she won't make it either. She needed to keep both of them alive in order to keep her own dream alive, too. How is this pro-life? And to the reviewer who claims this was Cuddy "who, by the sole virtue of being a woman (and therefore having "deeper feelings" about motherhood), was able to do House's job better than House..." - where did you see this? I'm a woman but I fail to see how the writer indicated this in this episode. I only saw Cuddy being her usual self here. If you watched the episode called "Humpty Dumpty", you'd remember what an emotional person she is concerning matters close to her heart.

Unlike what one reviewer mentioned, House was not reduced to "near tears" - that moment was one that made him feel something - this tiny life form he usually refers to as a "parasite" was able to touch his heart for a moment. Sure, House went back to his old objective ways as soon as the mother went into a fatal state and difficult decisions had to be made, but I think his reaction came out more as a result of his decades of being House, and not because that touching moment didn't affect him in any way. Why else would he be shown touching his fingers that were once grasped by the fetus/baby, while being immersed in seemingly deep thoughts?

I can go on, but I don't want to waste everyone's time. I've said enough to show my side of the argument.

All in all, one of my favourite episodes so far! Very thought provoking.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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