Medical TV drama 'House' comes to an end

Story of a 'Sherlock Holmes' of medicine draws to close

The most-watched television show around the globe comes to a close on Monday night, as Dr. Gregory House hangs up his (fictional) prescription pad.

At its peak, "House, M.D.," was watched by about 82 million viewers in 66 countries around the globe. The show centered on a team of diagnosticians, led by Dr. House, at the made-for-TV Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. According to Lisa Sanders, a physician at the Yale University School of Medicine whose columns for the New York Times helped inspire the show, House is supposed to be like a medical version of Sherlock Holmes—a smart, observant detective thrilled by the intellectual challenge of medicine.

The show ran for eight years and many of its 177 episodes featured odd diseases and unexpected diagnoses. For example, a patient was once struck by breast cancer in the leg; another patient suffered a heart attack that manifested as a dental problem, according to Dr. John Sotos, a technical adviser to the show.

Writing on, Sotos contends "I'm especially proud that we did not dumb down the medicine. In fact, we often made it extraordinarily complicated, bending Occam's razor in every possible manner."

The TV show won several awards and spawned a raft of coverage, including blogs dedicated to discussing the diagnoses in depth (Sotos,, 5/21; Rosenberg,, 5/20; Carter, New York Times, 5/18).

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