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We've secretly replaced this doctor's blood with hepatitis blood. Let's see if he notices!Janitor

"My Sacrificial Clam" is the twenty-first episode of Scrubs' first season. J.D. gets jabbed by a needle and fears he might be infected with Hepatitis B, causing him to become afraid of his patients. Turk feels insecure about his weight, and Dr. Cox offers to help him get in shape. Elliot's work life is disrupted because of her new boyfriend, Sean Kelly.


J.D. gets stuck with a needle

As J.D. and Nurse Roberts check a patient's hepatitis B viral load, J.D. is accidentally stuck by the blood-filled needle. He fears he has been infected and has tests done. While some people are supportive, others, like Dr. Kelso, are less helpful. Janitor mocks him in his usual tone.

J.D. treats four doctors who got sick at a medical conference. Upon telling them about his needle stick, they proceed to scare him by recounting stories of their colleagues' getting infected by their patients. Throughout the day J.D. is more and more terrified that he might have hepatitis B. When the tests then reveal that he is healthy he is still scared so he transfers his meningitis patient over to Dr. Cox. In a public display of weakness, he confesses that he is "a doctor afraid of sick people" and loses the respect of his doctor patients. Dr. Cox refuses to give J.D. back his meningitis patient, and J.D. realizes that Dr. Cox wanted him to get over his fear himself. J.D. finally rallies and visits the meningitis patient in a social capacity, not medical.

Sean and Elliot kiss, but then she dumps him.

Elliot spends the night with Sean and does the walk-of-shame the next morning prompting her colleagues to tease her and Dr. Kelso to chastize her. Elliot and Sean, enjoying their exciting new relationship, discuss their sex life but Elliot struggles at produce the right answer at rounds. Elliot begins to worry that her relationship with Sean is the cause for her sloppy performance at her job. She becomes increasingly agitated at Sean, who has no idea why she is angry. Elliot apologizes to Sean for her outbursts, then realizes that their relationship isn't working and breaks up with him, consciously prioritizing her career over her dating life.

While eating a donut and watching TV, Carla teases Turk about putting on a bit of weight. The next day Carla tries to reassure a visibly upset Turk that she meant nothing by her joke about his weight, and says that no doctor in the hospital is in shape. Her words are undermined when a very fit Dr. Cox walks by. Intrigued by Dr. Cox's fitness, Turk looks to him for advice on how to stay in shape. Dr. Cox mocks him by showing him his "future"— several increasingly overweight African-American men — and then invites Turk to work out with him. Turk, Cox, and The Todd lift weights but Carla, feeling ignored by Turk, asks him to spend time with her. Despite Dr. Cox's warnings about getting complicit with your physique, Turk opts to spend the evening on the couch with Carla and some donuts.

Recurring Themes

     More: FantasiesFlashbacksJ.D.'s girl namesJanitor's pranks and lies

Zombie-like patients.


  • Sick patients are all around J.D., shuffling toward him and making zombie noises.

Janitor story

  • J.D. asks Janitor to be nice to him for once, and Janitor starts annoying him by being overly nice. When Janitor invites J.D. to a baseball game, J.D. thinks he is mocking him, but Janitor pulls tickets out of his pocket and tells himself that he will never reach out to J.D. again.

J.D.'s Girl Names

  • Belinda
Oh, and Belinda, do you know what else is real contagious? A big ole smile!Dr. Cox

Guest Stars

William Daniels as Dr. Douglas, Eric Laneuville as Dr. Lamar, Stephen Furst as Dr. Franklyn, and Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Bailey.


     List of music featured in Scrubs

  • "All in My Head" by Shawn Mullins
  • "Upside Down" by Jackpot


J.D. is afraid of zombies.

Turk struggles through a workout led by Dr. Cox.

Is he gonna make it?Janitor (as mop-puppet)

Doesn't look good.Janitor

I know a guy who can "take care" of him for us. (laughs, then dead-seriously) One phone call.Ted

Dumbass says what!Dr. Cox

What?The Todd
I said "Dumbass says what!"



Dr. Cox mocks J.D.


  • The four doctors J.D. treats are portrayed by Ed Begley Jr., William Daniels, Stephen Furst, and Eric Laneuville, all of whom starred as doctors in the television series St. Elsewhere, which ran on NBC in the 1980s, featuring doctors in a rundown teaching hospital in Boston.
  • J.D. brings his meningitis patient some Judy Blume young adult novels. Blume wrote "Are You There God, It's Me Margret" which Dr. Cox teases J.D. about earlier in Season One in "My Two Dads".


  • "All in My Head" was a candidate for the title theme, but was rejected in favor of "Superman" by Lazlo Bane.
  • In Latin America, for the whole episode, Dr. Cox's name was subtitled as "Dr. Kox".
  • Title explanation: J.D. sacrifices his safety for his patients and stops being a clam (a withdrawn person). It is also a play on "sacrificial lamb."
  • The meningitis patient's name is Mr. Winston, most likely named after Scrubs producer Randall Keenan Winston. Bill Lawrence self-admittedly is bad at naming characters.


  • A young doctor showed interest in joining the Janitor in going to a ball game, contrary to the original plan of having Janitor be a figment of J.D.'s imagination during Season One.
  • When J.D. meets Mr. Winston, shots from behind Carla show her mask string wrapped around her ear, but shots in front of her show the string underneath.
  • When J.D. asks for his patient back from Dr. Cox in the locker room, Dr. Cox puts on his lab coat and starts walking down the hall. Between shots, the collar on his coat changes continuously.