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Nurse Carol Hathaway was a nurse at County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. She was portrayed by Julianna Margulies from 1994 to 2000.
In the pilot episode, Carol was originally supposed to die after attempting suicide, but since tv audiences responded well to the character, Julianna Margulies was offered a permanent role on the show.
In the pilot episode, Carol is rushed to the ER after attempting suicide by overdosing on barbituates. While the staff is working on her, someone mentions that "even her fiance didn't know about it" indicating she hadn't shared her suicide plans with anyone. Although she later denies it, the staff suspect that her suicide attempt was brought about by her failed romance with pediatrician Dr. Doug Ross.
Six weeks after her recovery, Carol returns to work, where it becomes obvious that while she is still attracted to Doug, but she harbours some animosity towards him. Doug tries to win Carol back, but even though their friendship is slightly rekindled, Carol keeps Doug at a distance in both professional and private matters.
Carol becomes engaged to orthopedic surgeon Dr. John "Tag" Taglieri (Rick Rossovich). Doug tries to dissuade her, but Carol decides to go through with the wedding. Carol tries to adopt an abandoned Russian girl named Tatiana, who has AIDS, but a background check that showed her attempted suicide only months earlier causes her application to be denied.
While caring for Tatiana it was revealed that Carol was half Russian and was able to speak the Russian language to a certain extent when she said that her mother was Ukranian and said that her mother tried to teach her Russian, but she didn't cooperate with it.
In the season finale, on the day of Carol and Tag's wedding, Tag tells Carol that he knows she could never love him the way he loves her and decides he can't go through with the wedding.
Carol starts a new relationship with a paramedic named Ray "Shep" Shepard. She also buys a rundown old house which Shep helps her fix up and then moves in with her. After Shep's partner, Raul Melendez dies in a fire trying to rescue children from a burning building, Shep's personality changes which causes Carol and Shep's relationship to strain.
Shep starts becomes abrasive, and despite Carol's attempts to get him professional help to deal with his anger, he refuses to which forces Carol to end their relationship.
In the season finale, Carol quits the ER in disgust, but she later returns.
Carol goes through financial problems. Her car is repossessed because she's three payments behind and wants to sell her house, but the real estate agent tells her that no one will buy it. Things get even worse when a labor dispute arises concerning the re-assignment of her nurses.
As the nurse manager for the ER, Carol is privy to the management decisions and she finds herself torn between her friends and the hospital administration. During a nurse sickout, Carol accidentally transfuses the wrong blood into a patient which leads to his death. Although it is unclear whether it was the blood or his other injuries that cause his death, Carol blames herself.
The hospital administration initially does not punish Carol for the incident and uses it to cast the sickout in a bad light, but Carol resents the administration's actions and believes she is not being punished sufficiently for her error. So Carol talks to the press and ends up getting suspended.
During her suspension in the episode, "The Long Way Around," Carol is held hostage at gunpoint at her local grocery store. Carol treats several injured people and manages to escape the incident unharmed.
Carol decides to take the MCAT exam and discovers that she got a perfect score, passing in the 85th percentile. In the end, Carol decides not to attend medical school and continues being a nurse. Doug and Carol's relationship seems to start up again.
Doug and Carol's relationship starts to get more serious. Doug later proposes to Carol in fron the ER staff which she accepts.
Later on, Carol starts to have commitment issues after kissing a vulnerable paramedic. When Carol tells Doug, he's angry at first, but later forgives her and tells her that he'll wait until Carol is ready to get married.
Also, Carol starts a free clinic in the ER with the help of Carter's grandmother, Millicent "Gamma" Carter. Near the end of the season, Doug gets Carol involved in a case where he uses ultra-rapid detox on a drug-addicted baby without the mother's permission which gets Doug in hot water.
Carol and Doug's relationship is still strong and they even try to get pregnant. Carol helps Doug out with Ricky Abbott, an 8-year-old terminally ill boy with ALS and his mother, Joi. After Doug gives Joi the code to Ricky's PCA machine which was used to deliver a fatal dose of morphine to Ricky which causes his death, Doug's career at County is put in jeporardy and Doug later decides to leave Chicago for Seattle.
Doug asks Carol to come with him, but Carol turns him down and Doug ends up leaving Chicago alone. Near the end of the season, Carol discovers that she is pregnant with twins.
By the beginning of this season, Carol is now heavily pregnant. She also starts a good friendship with newcomer Dr. Luka Kovač.
On Thanksgiving Day, Carol goes into labor near the EL station. Luckily, Luka is there when Carol starts having contractions and gets her to the hospital. Halfway there, Carol loses consciousness and Luka carries Carol to the hospital.
Carol gives birth to her first twin daughter, Tess in the ER. When she's taken up to OB, Mark Greene is by her side. When Carol goes into labor again, there are problems that cause her to have a c-section. Carol delivers her second twin daughter, Kate (named after Mark's mother's middle name), but she suffers complications from the c-section which Carol later recovers from.
Carol and Luka appear to start a relationship with each other, but when Doug learns about the birth of the twins, he wants Carol and their daughters to come live with him in Seattle.
Carol cannot decide whether it's the right thing to do and tries to raise their twins alone, but after treating a woman who is dying of end-stage ovarian cancer and helping her family say goodbye, it makes Carol decided to reunite her own family & she abruptly decides leaves work and flies to Seattle that day to reunite with Doug.
Before she leaves, Carol ends her relationship with Luka, but she tells Luka that he'll find someone. It is later revealed that Carol sends for her daughters the next day and stays with Doug.
In the previous season, it's revealed that Carol and Doug are living happily in Seattle and their twin daughters, Tess and Kate are now in the 3rd grade.
Carol Hathaway appears again in the final season. It's revealed that she and Doug are now married. They work at the University of Washington Medical Center where Carol works as a transplant coordinator.
In the episode, Carol and Doug help out a grieving grandmother donate her grandson's organs. One of the organs, a kidney, is given to "some doctor", unbeknownst to both Doug and Carol that it is their former co-worker and friend John Carter. While on the job, Carol meets Neela Rasgotra and Sam Taggart.
- Helen Hathaway (mother)
- Unnamed Sisters
- Dr. Doug Ross (husband)
- Tess and Kate Ross (twin daughters; with Doug)
Medical Titles at County GeneralEdit
- Registered Nurse\Nurse Manager (1994-2000)