"The Greater Good"
Season 10, Episode 6
Air date November 6, 2003
Written by R. Scott Gemmill
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Episode Guide
← Previous
"Out of Africa"
Next →
"Death and Taxes"

The Greater Good is the 6th episode of 10th season of "E.R." The episode aired on November 6, 2003.


Since his return to County, Luka has become obsessed with treating and streeting patients as quickly as possible. He argues with Pratt over the treatment of a pregnant woman who doesn't want her premature baby to receive life-saving treatment as well as with Romano, who wants more tests ordered on patients so that the hospital can make some money.

Abby is still on her surgical rotation and Romano is still riding her hard. Coop flirts with Chen.

Susan has been reading to Ben Hollander in her spare time and he seems to have developed a crush on her.

Luka meets Sam's son Alex in the new JumboMart (which has replaced the fire-damaged Doc Magoo's).

NBC DescriptionEdit

DOCTORS PRATT AND KOVAC ARGUE OVER FATE OF PREMATURE BABY; EMMY WINNER BOB NEWHART GUEST-STARS: Drs. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) and Kovac (Goran Visnjic) clash over a miscarriage-prone young woman (Allison Smith) who arrives to deliver a premature baby; Pratt wants to make heroic efforts to save the tiny soul while Kovac is dead-set against spending vast amounts of money to keep the child alive, but forever sickly.

Elsewhere, Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) enjoys her time with a sarcastic patient (Emmy-winning guest star Bob Newhart, "Newhart") who once threatened to take his own life over his impending blindness.

A distracted Kovac also runs afoul of a psychiatrist who over-medicates an abused foster child (guest star Michael Angarano) who wants to go back to his drug-addled mother.

Plus, a chatty, upbeat pharmaceutical rep (guest star Sarah Shahi) makes the rounds offering goodies, a man gets violent over an exorbitant bill and Dr. Coop (guest star Glenn Howerton) makes a romantic play for Dr. Chen (Ming-Na).

Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, Maura Tierney, Paul McCrane and Parminder Nagra also star.


  • Although in the opening credits, Noah Wyle and Sharif Atkins do not appear in this episode.
  • Susan is reading from Chapter 15 of "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane.


Abby: (about Neela) I'm beginning to hate her.
Susan: She's a med student.
Abby: I'm a med student.
Susan: You know, now that you mention it, she's pissing me off, too. Come on, let's hate her together!
Luka: I'm not billing for treatment we didn't provide.
Romano: It's called capitalism, Kovac. It pays your salary.
Susan: Hospital policy exists for a reason. First, learn the rules, then learn when to break them.
Luka: Pratt, I'm trying to teach you that the way you practice medicine here is inefficient.
Pratt: Oh, and letting babies die is?
Luka: You really think you saved that kid today? For what? 24-hour nursing care? He's probably gonna require a lifetime commitment. Are you gonna be around to give it to him?
Pratt: Listen, I'm sorry I'm not in some mud-hut doing amputations with a pocket knife. We have the technology and expertise to give that kid a chance! What's the sense in having it if we don't use it?
Luka: That kid has about a 5% chance of having a normal life! You have any idea how many other kids we could have treated with those resources?
Pratt: I do everything I can for my patients! That's how I practice medicine. This is Chicago, not the damned Congo. Maybe you should just go back to Africa.
Luka: Maybe you should go to Africa.
Pratt: I know you didn't just say that to me.
Luka: Maybe then you'd learn that there's more to being a doctor that ordering tests and calling consults for every patient just to cover your ass.
Pratt: Stay away from my patients. From now on, I present to another attending.
Romano: Okay, Abby. Give me the bullet.
Abby: I was trying to fix the monitor, sorry.
Romano: Oh, you're a med student, a nurse and a technician now. What's next, a cowgirl?

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.