Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originally telecast as a two-hour special, the first episode of ER has since been divided into a two-parter for syndication. In part one, young and inexperienced third-year med student John Carter (Noah Wyle) reports for work at the emergency room of Chicago's County General Hospital. During a hectic 24-hour shift, Carter is brusquely introduced to his future co-workers: his arrogant trainer, Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle); workaholic chief resident Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards); the equally hardworking Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield); the womanizing Dr. Douglas Ross (George Clooney); and troubled head nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies). All in all, it is a typical shift at the ER, with cases ranging from gunshot wounds, ruptured aneurysms, burns, and even hangnails -- but a few surprises are in store for both the staff and the viewers at home. In part two, inexperienced three-year med student John Carter continues to cope as best he can with his hectic first day in the emergency room of Chicago's County General Hospital. Meanwhile, chief resident Greene weighs the possibility of entering private practice; Carter's supervisor, Benton, oversteps his authority by operating on a patient with an aortic aneurysm; and troubled head nurse, Carol Hathaway, becomes a patient herself after attempting suicide (originally intended as a one-shot character, Hathaway proved so popular with the viewers that she was immediately pencilled in as a regular).