Week 14 Digital Resource Blog Post

This clip is from an episode of House about a woman with schizophrenia. The scene here, like much of the episode, focuses on her son and the struggles that he had caring for his mother with the limited support available. This reminded me, although the situations are reversed, of Pete Earley’s struggles in caring for his son through his mental illness.

Mental Health Related Show Review: House, MD season 6 premier

Season six of House, MD began with two episodes recounting House’s stay at the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital after his addiction to Vicodin worsened and he began hallucinating and acting increasingly erratic. They began with House being held in a small hospital room as he went through withdrawals; this included him being restrained, showing that despite non-restraint being a goal for much of the history of mental health in America, it still remains an expected part of care today.

House was restrained to his bed while he quit taking Vicodin. This room was much smaller and emptier than the one he would be in once he moved to the permanent ward.

After this he was ready to be released; however, despite him having voluntarily committed himself, his doctor – Dr. Nolan – was able to prevent him from leaving by refusing to write a letter allowing him to reinstate his medical license. House compared this to slavery which, while an intentionally inflammatory remark, reminded me immediately of the accounts of people who were involuntarily committed that compared that to slavery. While not exactly the same, it was similar and House found the same language to describe it.

House wants to leave Mayfield, but Nolan feels that his issue goes beyond simply quitting taking Vicodin and finds a way to keep him there, despite House comparing it to slavery and clearly being unhappy with the idea.

After he begrudgingly agreed to stay, House was transferred to be with other long term patients, where he decided to be disruptive until Nolan was forced to let him go. A theme throughout both the episodes is the constant conflict between House and the doctors. Echoing the longstanding significance of the doctor-patient relationship, Nolan and the other doctors repeatedly expressed that House could not truly improve until he accepted that he needed treatment and cooperated with them.

Another concept brought up repeatedly was the question of who got to decide what was normal. This was centered around a patient, Steven, who believed he was a superhero; that belief was shot down by another doctor who antagonized Steven, trying to prove to him that he was wrong, which led to Steven becoming extremely depressed. This angered House, who confronted the doctor about harassing people for simply being “a little different.” The doctor countered this by saying  Steven wasn’t different, but delusional. House later brought Steven to a fair where he could “fly” in order to cheer him up, which worked, but resulted in Steven being injured when he tried to “fly” again. House touched somewhat on the issue of social control in the way he reacted to how Steven was treated, arguing that he did not have any real issues before he was put on medication and forced to change how he thought about himself. For House, at least initially, he believed that it was better for Steven to be delusional but happy than depressed and the doctors were more so with making him “normal” than improving Steven’s life. He changed this belief after Steven was injured.

3:22-4:17 House disagrees with a doctor about another patient’s treatment, feeling that more harm is being done by trying to make the patient “normal.”

It stood out to me was that Mayfield was established in 1876 and throughout the episodes I was unable to determine if it was in its original location. The hospital appeared older and had many ornate details that I don’t associate with more modern hospitals, but none of the structural issues that would be expected from an older building were touched upon.

The exterior of the hospital
Shows the interior of the hospital and some of the ornate detailing that stood out to me