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Carol Hathaway
Make of Two Hearts
Key information
Gender Female
Hair Color Black
Occupation Nurse Manager (1994-2000)
Family Helen Hathaway (mother)
Spouse Doug Ross
Children Tess Ross (From Doug)
Kate Ross (From Doug)
Behind the scenes
Portrayer: Julianna Margulies
Episode 135 (134 regular, 1 guest)
First episode "24 Hours"
Last episode "Old Times"
Nurse Carol Ross (née Hathaway) is a fictional character on the popular television show ER, portrayed by Julianna Margulies from 1994 to 2000. Julianna Margulies' removal from the main cast opening credits was in the final episode of season 6.

Career

Carol Hathaway is a registered nurse and is the nurse manager in the emergency room of Chicago's County General Hospital. She holds a master's degree in nursing and is left-handed.

Carol is sensitive towards the lack of recognition the ER nurses experience. She is sometimes hostile to the physician assistants, and once told surgeon Peter Benton in Season One, "Haleh, a staff nurse may not be able to cross clamp an aorta, but she has over 20 years experience in emergency medicine and if you would step off your pedestal maybe you would realize it's the nurses that make this place run and not you."

In Season Three, Carol intends to go to medical school and become a doctor, but decides against it because she sees that her job as a nurse is worthwhile.

In Season Four, Carol obtains funding for an ER clinic by getting money from Dr. John Carter's grandmother, Millicent Carter. Carol's clinic provides care for thousands for free.

In Season Five, after a fiasco with Doug Ross, a dying child and an overdose of medication, Carol is forced to step down from her position with the clinic, and step down from being Nurse Manager.

She mentioned that she is the youngest child in her family (as she told Dr Anna Del Amico that she has four sisters, but we never met them in the show).

Personal life

Shortly after her character is introduced on the show, she is rushed into hospital after an overdose of barbiturates in a failed suicide attempt. While the staff is working on her, someone mentions that "even her fiance didn't know about it" indicating she hadn't shared her suicide plans with anyone.

Although she later denies it, the staff suspect that her suicide attempt was brought about by her failed romance with Doug Ross, a womanizing pediatrician also working in the ER. After her recovery, Carol returns to work, where it becomes obvious that while she is still attracted to Doug, she harbours some animosity towards him.

Meanwhile, Doug continues to try to win Carol back and although their friendship is slightly rekindled, Carol keeps Doug at a distance in both professional and private matters.

Prior to this, Carol attempted to adopt an abandoned Russian girl named Tatiana, who was suffering from AIDS, but a background check showing her attempted suicide only months earlier causes her application to be denied.

Carol begins Season Two by purchasing a run-down, rickety house. She later becomes involved with paramedic Ray "Shep" Shepard (Ron Eldard), who moves in with her and helps her renovate her house. Despite a promising start, their relationship is severely strained after Shep goes through a drastic personality change after the death of his work partner.

Shep and his partner had decided to enter a burning building to save children who were trapped by the fire. Shep's partner was badly burned and later died in the ICU. Shep becomes abrasive, and despite Carol's attempts to get him professional help to deal with his anger, he refuses. Although Carol loves Shep, she decides that she can't watch him self-destruct and ends their relationship.

In Season Three, Carol suffers severe financial problems. Without Shep's extra income she is unable to afford her house. Things get even worse when a labor dispute arises concerning the re-assignment of her nurses. As nurse manager for the ER, Carol is privy to management decisions and she finds herself torn between her friends and the hospital administration.

During a nurse sickout, Carol accidentally transfuses the wrong blood into a patient. Although it is unclear whether it was the blood or his other injuries that cause his death, Carol blames herself. The administration initially does not punish Carol for this incident and uses it to cast the sickout in a bad light, but she resents the administration's actions and believes she is not being punished sufficiently for her error, so she talks to the press and gets suspended.

During her suspension, Carol is held hostage at gun point during an armed robbery at her local grocery store. She treats several injured people and manages to escape the incident, shaken but unharmed.

Carol later takes the MCAT with Doug's assistance and assumes she failed when in fact she did very well, but she opts not to pursue medical school, having only taken the test to prove she was capable. During the last few episodes of Season Three, Carol and Doug become closer and eventually rekindle their relationship.

Their relationship is held up by Carol's insecurities, but soon they make it work. They are trying to have a baby when Doug leaves Chicago in the middle of Season 5, when he is strongly advised to relocate after allegedly teaching a mother how to bypass an automatic pain-medication release device to deliver a lethal dose to her terminally-ill child. Unbeknownst to Doug, Carol is pregnant.

Carol delivers Tess and Kate on Thanksgiving in Season 6. When Doug learns of his twin daughters' birth, he invites them to come to live with him in Seattle, but Carol cannot decide if it is the right thing to do and attempts to raise their daughters alone. She briefly dates Luka Kovač.

Treating a woman dying of end-stage ovarian cancer and helping her family say goodbye moves Carol to reunite her own family, and she abruptly leaves work and flies to Seattle that day to reunite with Doug in the second-to-last episode of Season 6. It is later revealed that Carol sent for her twin daughters the next day and stays with Doug. That is the last time you see her until the last season.

Season 1

Carol becomes engaged to orthopedic surgeon Dr. John "Tag" Taglieri (Rick Rossovich). Doug tries to dissuade her, but Carol decides to go through with the wedding. Carol tries to adopt an abandoned Russian girl named Tatiana, who has AIDS, but a background check that showed her attempted suicide only months earlier causes her application to be denied.

While caring for Tatiana it was revealed that Carol was half Russian and was able to speak the Russian language to a certain extent when she said that her mother was Ukranian and said that her mother tried to teach her Russian, but she didn't cooperate with it.

In the season finale, on the day of Carol and Tag's wedding, Tag tells Carol that he knows she could never love him the way he loves her and decides he can't go through with the wedding.

Season 2

Carol starts a new relationship with a paramedic named Ray "Shep" Shepard. She also buys a rundown old house which Shep helps her fix up and then moves in with her. After Shep's partner, Raul Melendez dies in a fire trying to rescue children from a burning building, Shep's personality changes which causes Carol and Shep's relationship to strain.

Shep starts becomes abrasive, and despite Carol's attempts to get him professional help to deal with his anger, he refuses to which forces Carol to end their relationship.

In the season finale, Carol quits the ER in disgust, but she later returns as though it never happened.

Season 3

Carol goes through financial problems. Her car is repossessed because she's three payments behind and wants to sell her house, but the real estate agent tells her that no one will buy it. Things get even worse when a labor dispute arises concerning the re-assignment of her nurses.

As the nurse manager for the ER, Carol is privy to the management decisions and she finds herself torn between her friends and the hospital administration. During a nurse sickout, Carol accidentally transfuses the wrong blood into a patient which leads to his death. Although it is unclear whether it was the blood or his other injuries that cause his death, Carol blames herself.

The hospital administration initially does not punish Carol for the incident and uses it to cast the sickout in a bad light, but Carol resents the administration's actions and believes she is not being punished sufficiently for her error. So Carol talks to the press and ends up getting suspended.

During her suspension in the episode, "The Long Way Around," Carol is held hostage at gunpoint at her local grocery store. Carol treats several injured people and manages to escape the incident unharmed.

Carol decides to take the MCAT exam and discovers that she got a perfect score, passing in the 85th percentile. In the end, Carol decides not to attend medical school and continues being a nurse. Doug and Carol's relationship seems to start up again.

Season 4

Doug and Carol's relationship starts to get more serious. Doug later proposes to Carol in fron the ER staff which she accepts. Later on, Carol starts to have commitment issues after kissing a vulnerable paramedic. When Carol tells Doug, he's angry at first, but later forgives her and tells her that he'll wait until Carol is ready to get married.

Also, Carol starts a free clinic in the ER with the help of Carter's grandmother, Millicent "Gamma" Carter. Near the end of the season, Doug gets Carol involved in a case where he uses ultra-rapid detox on a drug-addicted baby without the mother's permission which gets Doug in hot water.

Season 5

Carol and Doug's relationship is still strong and they even try to get pregnant. Carol helps Doug out with Ricky Abbott, an 8-year-old terminally ill boy with ALS and his mother, Joi. After Doug gives Joi the code to Ricky's PCA machine which was used to deliver a fatal dose of dilaudid to Ricky which causes his death, Doug's career at County is put in jeporardy and Doug later decides to leave Chicago for Seattle.

Doug asks Carol to come with him, but Carol turns him down and Doug ends up leaving Chicago alone. Near the end of the season, Carol discovers that she is pregnant with twins.

Season 6/Departure

By the beginning of this season, Carol is now heavily pregnant. She also starts a good friendship with newcomer Dr. Luka Kovač. On Thanksgiving Day, Carol goes into labor on the EL. Apparently she manages to get off at the next stop. Luckily, Luka sees Carol there having contractions and gets her to the hospital. Halfway there, Carol loses consciousness and Luka carries Carol to the hospital.

Carol gives birth to her first twin daughter, Tess in the ER. When she's taken up to OB, Mark Greene is by her side. When Carol goes into labor again, there are problems that cause her to have a c-section. Carol delivers her second twin daughter, Kate (named after Mark's mother's middle name), but she suffers complications from the c-section which Carol later recovers from.

Carol and Luka appear to start a relationship with each other, but when Doug learns about the birth of the twins, he wants Carol and their daughters to come live with him in Seattle.

Carol cannot decide whether it's the right thing to do and tries to raise their twins alone, but after treating a woman who is dying of end-stage ovarian cancer and helping her family say goodbye, it makes Carol decided to reunite her own family & she abruptly decides leaves work and flies to Seattle that day to reunite with Doug. Before she leaves, Carol ends her relationship with Luka, but she tells Luka that he'll find someone. It is later revealed that Carol sends for her daughters the next day and stays with Doug.

Season 14

In the Season 14 episode, "Status Quo", Jeanie Boulet mentions Doug and Carol when she returns to the ER. Nurse Haleh Adams states that they are living happily in Seattle and that their twin daughters are now in third grade.

Season 15

In the season 15 episode The Book of Abby, long-serving nurse Haleh Adams shows the departing Abby Lockhart a closet wall where all the past doctors and employees have put their locker name tags. Amongst them, the tag "Hathaway" can be seen.

Carol Hathaway appears again in Season 15. She and Doug are now married and practice at the University of Washington Medical Center where Carol is a transplant coordinator.

During the episode, Carol and Doug help a grieving grandmother (Susan Sarandon) donate her grandson's organs. One of the organs, a kidney, is given to "some doctor", unbeknownst to both Doug and Carol that it is their former co-worker and friend John Carter. While on the job she met the two current employees at Cook County General Hospital Neela Rasgotra & Sam Taggart.