E.R. is ending: Bad for fans, great for doctors

With only two episodes left, ER, is finally ending its historic run on NBC. The other night my friend Mike called me and I told him I was watching ER, prompting this exchange:

Mike: What? ER? That’s still on? Who still watches ER?

Me: My wife likes it.

Mike: ER?! Wow. ER. (Sigh)

ERis one of those generational shows. Sort of like a rock band who you say about, “I liked them when their first couple of albums came out, but this new stuff just isn’t for me.” 15 seasons is an eternity for a show that basically takes place in two or three rooms of a hospital. I used to watch ER religiously, took a few years off and have returned half-heartedly over the last two seasons. My wife watches it so I catch bits and pieces.

As the series winds down NBC has been trotting back out the original cast members for their “Where are they Now?” farewell bows. A few weeks ago Dr. Ross (Clooney), Nurse Hathaway (Marguiles), and Dr. Benton (Eriq Lasalle) all came back for cameos and Dr. Carter (Noah Wylie) has been involved in a story arc about his return to the states. These appearances got me thinking about a running joke my wife and I have had about ER. Chicago General Hospital may be the most cursed hospital in America, or even the world. General Hospital and Seattle Grace give it a run for its money but Chicago General has a streak of demise 15 tragic seasons long. Let’s consider some grisly highlights from the last decade and a half. (Not in chronological order):

Dr. Ray Barnett – hit by truck. Both legs amputated

Dr. Michael Gallant – killed while serving in Iraq

Dr. Mark Greene – died from complications with brain cancer

Dr. Lucy Knight – stabbed and killed by deranged patient

Dr. Gregory Pratt – killed in ambulance explosion

And the most ironic and unluckiest :

Dr. Robert Romano – arm amputated by helicopter blade, killed by helicopter falling on him. Separate incidents?!!!

That is a nauseating list that doesn’t even include the patients who die there on a weekly basis. Of the twenty-six doctors or nurses listed on Wikipedia as being major cast members over the series run, six have had limbs amputated, died or both. That is almost 25%! What is going on in this place?

Imagine starting your rotations in med school and beginning to hear the stories coming out of Chicago General. The rumors alone would probably be enough for me to switch to veterinary medicine or acupuncture. Anything but that ER. So as the series winds down I can’t help but think it is probably for the best for two reasons. One, the show has been around long enough. More importantly two, the writers won’t have to think of new and particularly horrible ways to kill off those fantastic MD’s.

Doug Norrie

Doug began writing for CinemaBlend back when Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actually existed. Since then he's been writing This Rotten Week, predicting RottenTomatoes scores for movies you don't even remember for the better part of a decade. He can be found re-watching The Office for the infinity time.