On this week's episode of House, "Here, Kitty," probably inspired by that story of the kitty that could tell when nursing home patients were going to die. House does critical thinking battle with a patient who believes in the psychic abilities of the kitty, and finally decides that said kitty is really seeking warmth--the warmth of a blankie, or a heating pad, or a body, all of which are available in the vicinity of patients. Halfway through the episode (the usual critical point), the patient has an important scene with Robert Chase, one of the other physicians, who tells her that faith has an important part to play in healing, but that part is in the waiting room, not in the OR.
Ultimately, House, being the usual hero of this medical drama, figures out the kitty's "psychic ability" which is that cats like heat. (We knew that). The cat seeks warmth, and the dying patients usually have more blankets, or heating pads, than other patients. The cat likes to plop itself on those beds. In addition, those patients are less likely to move around than patients who are getting better. (Although why a hospital or nursing home would allow a cat loose in a sterile area is beyond me).
The patient isn't convinced, and leaves, telling House she still believes that some things in life are unexplainable (at least as yet). That's undoubtedly true. What divides us is how we approach them.
Meanwhile, one of House's victims (a resident), decides to invest in a "sure thing," some kind of deal proposed to him by a high school buddy who has since gone on to become CEO of a corporation. He quits his job at the hospital, as House tells him, "You'll be back. Don't forget the doughnuts." There's a problem, however. The buddy isn't a CEO. He's a temp at the company at which he claims to be the head honcho. The resident, fortunately, finds out before he invests, and sorrowfully returns to work.
This particular episode suggests that one could contrast critical thinking on the part of House with a lack of critical thinking on the part both of the patient and the resident. Of course, those who hold that faith has a place in healing, or in diagnosis, like the patient, will find a place for it in the story. Those who don't, like House, will find affirmation for their opinion. And those who are somewhere in the middle, like Dr. Chase, will also find support.
It was an intriguing mix, and one of the better entries in this series.