Saturday 7 December 2019

Honour for Irish doctor who inspired Clooney's 'ER' role

Dr Barrett was honoured with a UCC Alumni award. Picture: Clare keogh
Dr Barrett was honoured with a UCC Alumni award. Picture: Clare keogh
Is the White House beckoning for George Clooney?

Ralph Riegel

This is the Irish doctor and gunshot wounds expert who helped inspire the TV role that catapulted actor George Clooney to stardom.

University College Cork (UCC) graduate Dr John Barrett was one of the key models for the role of Dr Doug Ross in the smash-hit US TV series 'ER'.

It was as Dr Ross that Clooney (inset) got his first big break and went on to become one of Hollywood's most influential stars.

Dr Barrett, a native of Turner's Cross in Cork, qualified as a doctor in 1969 but went on to become the director of the world-renowned trauma unit at Cook County Hospital in Illinois in the US.

Chicago suffers from one of the world's highest gun crime rates and Dr Barrett helped turn the Cook County Hospital unit into an acclaimed global centre of excellence for treating gunshot trauma injuries.

Yesterday, Dr Barrett was honoured with a UCC Alumni award alongside director John Crowley, the High Court's Justice Marie Baker, Internet expert Prof John Naughton, and former Department of Communications Secretary General Brendan Tuohy.

Dr Barrett, who retired from his Cook County Hospital chairmanship in 2003, admitted he was a little taken aback by all the fuss over the 'ER' connection.

"When I was working at Cook County, I didn't get all that much time to watch TV," he said.

He was, along with other trauma unit experts, interviewed in 1993 by the TV production company who wanted to turn Chicago-born writer Michael Crichton's story into 'ER.'

The show launched in 1994 and became one of the world's most highly rated TV programmes.

Irish Independent

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