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"Hell and High Water"
Season 2, Episode 7
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Air date November 9, 1995
Written by Neal Baer
Directed by Christopher Chulack
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"Hell and High Water" is the seventh episode of the second season of ER. It was written by Neal Baer and directed by Christopher Chulack. It first aired on NBC on November 9, 1995. The episode was the highest-rated episode in the second season of the show and was the most watched episode in the entire series (a total of 48 million viewers). It features Doug Ross trying to rescue a boy trapped in the concrete storm drain.


After being removed from his fellowship in County General, Doug accepted a job in the private practice. After leaving the hospital, he gets a flat tire when suddenly, a frantic boy comes to him for help, saying that his brother is trapped in the flooded culvert. Doug becomes a media sensation as they are filming his rescue operation on the boy.

NBC Description

ACCLAIMED EPISODE FEATURES A HEROIC DR. ROSS (GEORGE CLOONEY): Before blowing out of County General Memorial Hospital, a dissatisfied Dr. Ross (George Clooney) accepts a lucrative position in private pediatric practice and is on his way to celebrate when he discovers an injured boy (Erik Von Detten) trapped in a rural storm drain during a cloudburst.

Stranded far from help and with the water rising, Ross soothes the frightened child as he struggles to free him. But even if Ross pulls the victim out in time, he knows he must further improvise to get him to the emergency room and keep him alive.

Elsewhere, Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle), Carter (Noah Wyle) and student Harper Tracy (Christine Elise) work hard to help a young girl (J. Madison Wright) who is a hit-and-run victim with multiple fractures and internal bleeding.

Short summary

Doug accepts an offer to work in a private pediatric practice. After his last ER shift he's on his way to a fund raiser when he gets a flat tire. In the pouring rain a boy comes up to his car because his brother is stuck in a flooded culvert. Doug doesn't hesitate and does everything he possibly can to save the kid. A news TV helicopter films part of the rescue attempt and Doug becomes a local hero. Meanwhile the ER staff plays Doom II and Benton, Carter and Harper try to save a young girl who was the victim of a hit-and-run.


To be added.

Cast & Characters


  • Sherry Stringfield (who portrayed Susan Lewis) was absent of this episode, making it the first time that one of the credited main cast member isn't present.
  • The episode received 5 Emmy nominations for "Writing" (Neal Baer), "Directing" (Christopher Chulack) "Cinematography" (Richard Thorpe), "Editing for a Single Camera Production" (Jacque Elaine Toberen) and "Sound Mixing."
  • With a total of 48 million viewers, this remains the most watched "ER" episode ever.


Mark (to Doug): Did you get the job?

Doug: Ninety grand a year and nobody dies. Hallelujah, auf Wiedersehen, I'll see you around.

Mark (about Doom II, the game the ER staff is playing at the admit desk): I've done thoracotomies that were less bloody.

Jerry (to Carol): He just doesn't understand the educational value.

Carol Hathaway: [watching a news report about a case] Ugh, TV docs.

Dr. David Morgenstern: There are reporters crawling all over this place like ants.

[to Carter]

Mrs. Phillips: We won't be needing your surgeon after all. I called my own.

Mr. Phillips: Who?

Mrs. Phillips: Fred.

Mr. Phillips: Fred Mendoza? He'll cost a fortune.

Mrs. Phillips: It's only your daughter's face.

Mr. Phillips: I hate him. That's why you called him.

Mrs. Phillips: He's the best in the city.

Mr. Phillips: On lopsided breasts.

[Mrs. Philips slaps him in the face and walks away]

Mr. Phillips: [to Carter] Touchy subject.

Paramedic: Mercy's closer.

Dr. Doug Ross: Yeah, but by 3 minutes. Then he dies because there's no ICU.

Paramedic: Or else he dies in a new helicopter.

Dr. Doug Ross: Look, I don't have time to argue with you. I will take full responsibility!

[to the news team]

Dr. Doug Ross: This boy is going to die!

Dr. Mark Greene: What's he doing on a new chopper?

Jerry Markovic: [Jerry points to the TV] Hey look there's Doctor Ross.

Nurse Malik McGrath: Turn up the volume.

Nurse Wendy Goldman: Where's the remote?

Dr. Mark Greene: [Greene speaks into the radio] Doug, do you read me?

Dr. Doug Ross: Mark, is that you?

Dr. Mark Greene: What are you doing?

Dr. Doug Ross: I got a 12 year old with hypothermia. I gotta warm him up fast! I'm doing the best I can.

Dr. Mark Greene: Doug, you're a mess. Go change into some scrubs.

[Ross continues working]

Dr. Mark Greene: You're freezing. Go get some coffee and warm up.

[Ross keep working]

Dr. Mark Greene: Hey! I need you here! Go change!

Dr. Doug Ross: [Ross starts to leave] I never should have put him that damn chopper!