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"Doctor Carter, I Presume"
Season 3, Episode 1
Air date September 26, 1996
Written by John Wells
Directed by Christopher Chulack
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"Doctor Carter, I Presume" is the season premiere episode of the third season of ER. It first aired on NBC at September 26, 1996. It was written by John Wells and directed by Christopher Chulack. That episode has John Carter working on his first day as a surgical intern as well as the results of the HIV tests on Peter Benton and Jeanie Boulet.


Carter works on his first day as a surgical intern on the 4th of July. Jeanie makes a decision when she tested positive for HIV, while Benton was negative for HIV.

Carol returns to the ER and runs into her former boyfriend Shep and his new girlfriend during a softball game where the ER staff was playing.

NBC Description

INDEPENDENCE DAY: Dr. Carter begins his surgical internship, but his first shift as a doctor is not what he expected.

When 4th of July casualties inundate the ER, Carter is reassigned back downstairs and forced to make life or death decisions on his own. Jeanie and Benton receive the results of their HIV tests.

Ross fails to convince Dr. Greene of the joys of being single. Hathaway's financial situation forces her to return to work.

Short summary

It's Dr. Carter's first day as a surgical intern and he learns just how challenging his year is going to be. Not only must he put in a 36 hour shift he learns that for his first day, he will be going back to his old haunts covering the ER. On top of that, he will be alone overnight covering not only the ER, but also the intensive care unit and all surgical patients. A new student, Dennis Gant, comes in to help him out. He realizes that he has much to learn, but will survives it all. Nurse Hathaway meets her old boyfriend Shep - and his new girlfriend - at the July 4th picnic. Jeanie Boulet goes to the hospital's HIV clinic for treatment but is warned off by a former medical worker who lost his job when he told his employers about his condition. Dr. Benton receives the result of his own HIV test.



  • Almost no mention is made of the fact that Carol Hathaway had resigned in the previous episode and is now back working in this one, except for when the nurses are joking about Carol having to cover a shift and one of them suggests she could just quit again.
  • First appearance of Omar Epps playing Dr Dennis Gant.
  • The ER has suddenly changed from the previous episodes: the staff room has been replaced with the waiting area. However, the characters behave as nothing happened, i.e. as the ER has always been this way.
  • Laura Innes became a series regular with this episode.
  • When Dr. Susan Lewis is looking at several travel flyers, she mentions 'Hawaii! Have you ever been to Hawaii?' it is a prelude to when Dr. Greene goes to Hawaii, with Dr. Elizabeth Corday to live the rest of his days as he his dying of cancer.