"Family Practice"
Season 4, Episode 14
Air date February 5, 1998
Written by Carol Flint
Directed by Charles Haid
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"Family Practice" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of ER. It first aired on NBC on February 5, 1998. It was written by Carol Flint and directed by Charles Haid. Mark Greene returns to San Diego to help his sick mother, with Cynthia following him. He come to terms with his distant father.


Mark comes to San Diego to be with his ailing mother and to determine the diagnosis. He is accompanied by Cynthia and they start to realize that they have no future together. Mark and his father come to terms with their distant relationship.

Greene's father falls ill too, and he finds himself treating the victims of a helicopter crash in a military hospital ER.

NBC DescriptionEdit

TIES THAT BIND: When his mother (guest star Bonnie Bartlett, 'St. Elsewhere') is hospitalized with a broken knee, Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards), accompanied by Cynthia (Mariska Hargitay), returns home to San Diego to help his father (guest star John Cullum, 'Northern Exposure') cope.

Greene soon realizes that his mother's medical problems are more serious than he suspected and his search for a diagnosis leads to confrontation with his father.

Short summaryEdit

Mark rushes out to San Diego when his mother has a serious fall and is hospitalized. When he gets there, he finds her suffering from mild dementia and questions the care she is receiving. To his surprise, Cynthia Hooper follows him unannounced and uninvited, leading for them to come a conclusion about their relationship. Mark also learns a lot about his parents' relationship and while he continues to struggle with his difficult relationship with his father, he also learns of some of the sacrifices the man made for his family.




  • Although Mark performs a few medical procedures in San Diego, he is not licensed to do any outside of Illinois.
  • When Mark is driving across the Coronado Bridge, the traffic report on the car radio mentions the ship USS Long Beach entering port. The USS Long Beach was decommissioned in 1995 and her last voyage was to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.


Mark (to Cynthia): I'm like a magnet for needy people. They find me wherever I go.

Cynthia: Like I did?


Ruth Greene: Dr. Black says that you and your father are responsible for your own feelings. But I know I started. I blamed him. I blamed you. I didn't want a baby. It was too soon. We'd only dated a couple of times. Of course, when I saw you, I loved you. And I tried to make up for it. But I'd already spoiled everything between you and your father. And it just kept going wrong, no matter how much I loved you both.


David Greene: In near a minute, the engines would start, and lives would be at stake, for every minute of the next twelve hours. Sounds familiar?

Dr. Mark Greene: Sort of.

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