County General, often referred to simply as "County", is a community hospital located in Chicago, Illinois.
County General opened its doors to the public in 1898 as revealed in the Season 5 episode, Good Luck, Ruth Johnson. It was a publicly funded hospital, ergo it did not reject uninsured patients from treatment. In the 1960s, an emergency room was introduced at County through the work of Dr. Oliver Kostin as revealed in the Season 15 episode, "A Long, Strange Trip".
Throughout the following decades, County developed a reputation among Chicago's underprivileged as a safe haven with guaranteed treatment. An unfortunate side effect were chronic budget deficits throughout the 1990s and 2000s, making County a classic struggling inner-city hospital.
1994 - present
When South Side closed its doors in 1996 due to county cutbacks, many of its staff were relocated to County, among them Donald Anspaugh who took over as Chief of Staff as seen in the Season 4 episode, "Let the Games Begin".
In 1999, While Dr.Carter and medical student Lucy Knight were treating a patient with schizophrenia the patient stabbed them with a butcher knife. In season 6 episode 14 "All in The Family" Dr. Weaver found Dr. Carter and Lucy Knight injured. Dr. Kovac, Abby Lockheart medical student at the time, and Dr. Chen took care of Carter who was stabbed in the back. Dr. Weaver and Malucci worked on Lucy who was stabbed in the neck, chest and abdomen. Lucy had a tracheal laser action and Dr. Benton had to trache her. Soon after Carters foley was filled with bright red urine from a bad renal lack. Benton took Carter to surgery while Dr. Corday, Kovac, and Greene assisted Dr. Weaver in saving Lucy's life. Lucy went into cardiac arrest in the ER and Dr. Weaver cracked her chest Open in the the ER with the sternal saw and she came back to life but soon died in the or due to a PE with Dr. Romano and Corday operating. Dr. Ansbaugh, and Benton operated on Carter and saved his kidney and his life.
In 2002, County became the sight of a smallpox scare as seen in the Season 8 finale episode, "Lockdown" and the Season 9 premiere episode, "Chaos Theory". In the season 9 premiere during the evacuation Dr. Romano the Cheif of Staff had his arm amputated by a helicopter tail roter. Dr Lewis and Kovac rushed to save his life. Romano went into v-tach in the OR from blood loss after the accident thanks to Dr. Kovacs quick thinking he lived. Romano was soon demoted after the accident when Dr. Ansbaugh and the board was fed up with his laziness and offered Dr. Weaver to assisted in his administrative duties. Romano refused so Dr. Ansbaugh fired Romano from Cheif of staff and promoted Dr. Weaver. Weaver soon gave Romano Cheif of ER and he fired three senior nurses Yosh, Connie, and Lydia. Romano offended almost everyone he remained Cheif of the ER until his death.
A year later, in 2004, a helicopter crash occurred in the ambulance bay of the hospital, resulting in the deaths of several staff members as well as the former Chief of Staff, Robert Romano as seen in the Season 10 episode, Freefall.
In 2004, a deranged patient stole a tank and began a long journey through the city, leaving destruction in his wake as he attempted to return to County and attack Archie Morris, the med student who had treated him as seen in the Season 10 episode, Forgive and Forget.
In 2009, the ER was the site of a ricin spill caused by an injured bioterrorist as seen in the Season 15 episode, Another Thursday at County.
County General Hospital, located in inner-city Chicago, is notorious for its lax security, mainly the result of budget shortages. In 2000, during Be Still My Heart and All in the Family, medical student Lucy Knight and Dr. John Carter were attacked and stabbed by a schizophrenic patient. Despite the ER and OR staff's best efforts, Knight succumbed to her injuries and died while Carter who survived was later left with kidney problems that would plague him for the rest of his life.
Plans were later drafted to improve security in and around the hospital, but it took various further incidents involving firearms and other weapons being brought into the hospital. Losing patience, Carter, the main head of the ER later staged a walkout during the Season 9 episode, "Insurrection" with many of the doctors and nurses joining him.
After that, metal gate detectors were put in place along with a protective door and various security guards were assigned around the hospital but despite that, they did not stop various shootings such as the shootout in the Season 12 finale episode, "Twenty-One Guns" and the Season 14 episode, "Under Pressure".
Medical School Affiliation
Several storylines indicate that County General is affiliated with a specific medical school. The school is never named during the show, though it is known that several characters including Mark Greene, Peter Benton, and all the characters depicted on the show as pre-residency medical students including John Carter, Abby Lockhart, Greg Pratt, and Neela Rasgotra attended the school. In early seasons, helicopters serving the hospital were clearly painted with the colors and logo of the University of Chicago, and in season 5 when Carter is living in the medical school's dorms he is seen wearing a Northwestern University sweatshirt. At many other times, Chicago and Northwestern are spoken of as distinct institutions from County General. The real hospital that County General is based on is affiliated with Rush Medical College.
Chiefs of Staff
- pre-1996 : David Morgenstern
- 1996 - 1999 : Donald Anspaugh
- 1999-2003 : Robert Romano
- 2003-2006 : Kerry Weaver
- 2006–present : Donald Anspaugh
Other hospitals in Chicago
- St. Bart's
- South Side (until 1996)