The Birthday Party is the seventeenth episode of the first season of the NBC medical drama series ER. It premiered on February 16, 1995.

"The Birthday Party"
Season 1, Episode 17
The Birthday Party
Air date February 16, 1995
US viewers 32.7 M
Written by John Wells
Directed by Elodie Keene
Episode Guide
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Carol wants to adopt Tatiana, but Taglieri doesn't. A conflict arises between Mark and his wife when she accepts a job in Milwaukee after he has already been offered a permanent position by Morgenstern. Benton finds family and hospital responsibilities overwhelming when he tries to get someone to cover his shift so he can attend his mother's birthday party. Doug learns what really happened to a little girl when he treating and confronts the abusive father responsible for her injuries.

NBC Description

WISH UNFULFILLMENT: Both Benton and Greene miss important birthday engagements: Benton, his mother's birthday and Greene, his daughter's.

Carter (thinking it's Benton's birthday) organizes a surprise party, but the surprise is his when he discovers the truth.

Dr. Ross risks his career when he yells at an abusive parent of a baby girl.

Hathaway tries to adopt the Russian girl left in the ER, but Taglieri (Rick Rossovich) is against it.

Cast and Characters


Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene 

George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross

Sherry Stringfield as Dr. Susan Lewis

Noah Wyle as John Carter

Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway

Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton


Sam Anderson as Dr. Jack Kayson

Khandi Alexander as Jackie

William H. Macy as Dr. David Morgenstern

Conni Marie Brazelton as Nurse Conni Oligario

Lily Mariye as Lily

Emily Wagner as Pickman

Abraham Benrubi as Jerry Markovic

Ming-Na Wen as Deb Chen

Gloria Reuben as Jeanie Boulet

CCH Pounder as Dr. Angela Hicks

Ving Rhames as Walter Robbins




  1. "Nielsen Ratings - December-March 1995 " (PDF). Zap2it. (May 15, 2015).