Erik Palladino as Dave Malucci
|First appearance||October 7, 1999|
(6x02, "Last Rites")
|Last appearance||October 25, 2001|
(8x04, "Never Say Never")
|Portrayed by||Erik Palladino|
|Children||(Supposedly) one child|
Dave Malucci first appears as a second-year resident. He often breaks protocol to get things done; he appears uncaring but is occasionally shown to be both sensitive and insightful. In "Last Rites," Malucci and John Carter steal medical gear from an ambulance to help some construction workers injured at a site; later, he and Carter are reprimanded by Kerry Weaver for violating emergency protocols and Carter comes away with a negative view of Malucci that he never really changes his mind about. Malucci attended medical school in Grenada, and in "Great Expectations," he uses his knowledge of the Caribbean to accurately diagnose a patient with a rare disease called Jamaican Vomiting Sickness because he recognized the symptoms from eating the area's akee fruit. In "Such Sweet Sorrow," Malucci allows Abby Lockhart to discharge a female patient without examining her personally. The patient later suffers an internal injury and nearly dies. After performing surgery to correct Malucci's mistake, Elizabeth Corday bluntly tells Malucci the staff considers him a sloppy, lazy physician and that "[none of us] think you're much of a doctor." He was used for comic relief in many situations due to his off beat personality and tendency to get pranked, injured, or end up doing odd things like eating cereal out of an Emesis basin (with milk that, he didn't realize, was breast-pumped by Nurse Carol Hathaway). He and Chen had a somewhat-adversarial relationship that also hinted at possible signs of attraction between the two, with some signs being blatant like the time Dave flustered when Deb walked into County's front desk to pick up files wearing a "nice" dress while he was trying to flirt with Abby. This got shunted aside once Dave found other staff members to annoy after his repeated flirting with her and her efficiently shutting him down often (though he wasn't particularly upset about that).
Malucci continues to come into conflict with other doctors in Season 7, angering Mark Greene when he makes a snide remark about Mark's brain tumor when Mark discounts his view that a teenage patient is being mistreated by his father (this was a recurring theme, that Dave was empathetic about younger patients who were being abused; it was implied that he had suffered some kind of abuse himself as a child). In "The Visit," Peter Benton's nephew Jesse dies from gunshot wounds in the ER. Benton attacks Malucci for making callous, gang-related remarks after Jesse's death. This season shows that his attraction to Dr. Chen had disappeared without any explanation and no signs of it ever resurfaced; their relationship was shown to be adversarial in a late season episode when an angry patient told Dave she didn't want him to examine her, and Dave asked Chen to take over only to have her lash out at him and refuse to help (the patient, a homeless former TV show host later recognized by Kerry Weaver, then sprayed Dave with Mace and left his eyes burning).
In "The Longer You Stay," Jing-Mei Chen and Malucci accidentally kill a patient with Marfan syndrome after failing to get a complete medical history and being unable to recognize his illness (which Dr. Carter correctly diagnoses immediately after seeing the patient's chest X-ray). Malucci mistakenly assumes that the patient is a drug user, and the treatment that he and Chen administer proves to be fatal. Kerry Weaver, the on-duty attending physician during this incident, could not be reached because she had gone across the street to Doc Magoos and left her pager in the restroom. When she returned and learned of Chen and Malucci's actions, she became enraged and told Malucci that "in a perfect world, Dr. Malucci, I would never subject any patients to your care."
In "Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic", Malucci is caught having sex with a paramedic in an ambulance, and this gives a still-angry Weaver an excuse to fire him. Mark Greene attempts to convince Weaver that she cannot fire Malucci simply because she doesn't get along with him, noting under the question of who she can tolerate "You'd have to fire all of us!". Weaver cites several letters of reprimand and two failed rotations, and says that even if the hospital chooses not to terminate him, she will ensure that Malucci never works in the ER again. In a last-ditch effort to save his job, Malucci reveals to Weaver that he "has a kid to support." Weaver wavers for a minute, but then repeats that he is fired, and as Malucci leaves, he yells at her at the admittance desk. He bitterly tells Weaver that the only reason she wants to be in charge of the ER is because she has nothing and no one else in her life and called her a "Nazi Dyke".
Malucci appears for the final time in "Never Say Never." Kerry Weaver enters the doctor's lounge where he is seen cleaning out his locker and removes his name tag from the locker. While doing it, he and Weaver exchange a silent and tense moment as he hatefully glares at her. He then left the lounge and County, never to be seen again and would be the first of four characters to leave that season.
Later in that season, in the Season 8 episode, "Brothers and Sisters", Dr. Carter brings up Malucci's name in a negative light, telling a young resident, Michael Gallant that Malucci was reckless and "killed a patient." This would be the last time Malucci would be mentioned by any of the characters on the show.
During the 15th and final season of ER, at the end of the episode "The Book of Abby", long-serving nurse Haleh Adams shows the departing Abby Lockhart a closet wall where all the past doctors and employees have put their locker name tags. Amongst them, the tag "Malucci" can be seen.