My Old Lady

"My Old Lady" is the fourth episode of the American comedy-drama Scrubs. It originally aired as Episode 4 of Season 1 on October 16, 2001.

The episode's writer, Matt Tarses, won the 2002 Humanitas Prize in the 30 Minute Category for this episode.


The three interns have to face death for one of their first times: J.D.'s patient, Mrs. Tanner, is a headstrong but kindly old woman, Turk's is a young man called David Morrison who just needs some company, and Elliot's is Mrs. Guerrero, a Hispanic woman whose condition is deteriorating fast. In the beginning of this episode, J.D. says that one out of three patients dies in hospital.

Mrs. Tanner is in renal failure, and J.D. has to tell her that unless she goes onto dialysis she will die. To J.D.'s shock, she decides that she would rather die, and he spends much of the episode trying to convince her to change her mind, even writing a list of things he believes everyone should do before they die. However, on reading this list to his patient, she says she has done every single one, and that rather than wasting his time fruitlessly trying to change her mind, J.D. should try doing a few himself, and that he should also take time just to lie on the grass and relax. While J.D. sits with her, Mrs. Tanner peacefully falls asleep and dies.

David needs hernia surgery, and despite Turk trying to remain aloof from his patients, (to be able to work using his instinct, rather than his emotions), and being convinced by J.D., he decides to keep David company since his father won't arrive for a few days. As Turk performs David's hernia surgery, he gets lost trying to find it and he stumbles upon a lymphoma. Turk performs a second operation to remove the lymphoma, but David dies on the operating table. When David's father arrives, he tells Turk that he was glad his son had a friend with him. Turk learns from this experience that it doesn't hurt to show kindness towards his patients.

Mrs. Guerrero speaks no English, requiring Carla to translate. She is steadily deteriorating, and Elliot has to decide whether to push thrombolytics, which could kill her if it doesn't save her, or to wait and see if she improves, which could also kill her. To Carla's disgust, Elliot runs away from making the decision, and later tells Carla how hard she finds it making decisions. Eventually, Carla helps Elliot decide to push the thrombolytics, improving their relationship in the process. Unfortunately, Mrs. Guerrero dies anyway, although when Dr. Cox tells her that it wasn't her fault, Elliot gains confidence from the experience. At the end of the episode J.D., doing as the late Mrs. Tanner had suggested, ends up lying in the grass and doing nothing, just thinking about all the things he wants to do in life. He is joined by Elliot, Carla and Turk.

Cultural references

  • The short clip of J.D. with Death parodies a Connect Four commercial from the 1970s, which features similar dialogue, and The Seventh Seal, which features a knight playing chess against Death. In the clip, J.D. had eight red pieces while Death had only six.
  • When Turk's patient David asks if anyone has ever heard of The Catch, Turk comes in and says, "Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, NFC Championship game, zero time left." To be precise, there were 51 seconds left on the clock when The Catch was made.


  • This episode marks the first appearance of Lloyd the Delivery Guy, who becomes a major supporting character in later seasons.
  • The name tag that Dr. Cox is wearing when he first enters Elliot's patient's room says Paul Cox, even though his name is Perry Cox.
  • When J.D. is in the park persuading Mrs. Tanner to come back to Sacred Heart, the candles on her grand daughter's cake are not lit, then it cuts to J.D. and the girl blowing out the candles.


External links

Search another word or see My_Old_Ladyon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature