The storylines illustrate the human characteristics of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, and how their tremendous responsibilities affect their lives. Understaffed and overburdened, the doctors, first-year residents, and nurses of the chaotic hospital often rely on humor to cope with daily pressures. Presiding over them is the sagacious, avuncular Dr. Donald Westphall, vice chairman of the division of medicine.
Chaos abounds at St. Eligius as Dr. Cavanaro searches for a mental patient lost amid hospital bureaucracy, and Dr. Morrison fights to prevent a risky operation on a young girl with dysentery.
A young woman, the victim of a terrorist bombing, fights for her life, while a conflicted Dr. Morrison must treat the reprehensible terrorist.
Dr. Cavanaro must break the news to a young couple that their baby will be born with Down's Syndrome. Meanwhile, Dr. Beale pays a visit to the loathsome bomber, and an overworked Dr. White makes a near-fatal mistake.
Cora and Arnie, a homeless couple, face a life-threatening medical decision, while Lillian and George, a middle-class couple, discover the surprising cost of a series of routine tests to determine the cause of Lillian's fainting spells.
Dr. Samuels is deeply affected when a precocious boy admitted for surgery reminds him of his own painful past, while Dr. Chandler tries to have a veteran nurse fired.
Dr. Westphall suspects an outbreak of legionnaires' disease in Ward Five and clashes with a hospital administrator over whether to close down the ward or not.
Dr. Westphall risks unforeseen ramifications by ordering the closure of the ward to prevent the spread of suspected legionnaires' disease, and Dr. Beale is shocked to discover that Tweety, a psychiatric patient who thinks she's a parakeet, is pregnant.
Dr. Beale grapples with the question of whether to release Tweety and her mate Ralph, the "Birdman of St. Eligius," into the outside world, and Dr. Fiscus begins packing a handgun after having been assaulted in the E.R.
Dr. Morrison makes an unheard-of house call, but regrets it when he's pestered with demands for more of the same, and the rift between Dr. White and his wife widens when their daughter is admitted to the E.R. after swallowing moth balls.
Someone calling himself Dr. Bullfinch is posing as a physician and making the rounds at St. Eligius, and an obese woman is shocked to learn that her intense stomach aches are actually labor pains.
Frustrated by his own vain attempts to heal a dying boy, Dr. Morrison allows the boy's parents to perform a Chinese folk ritual on him, and Dr. Samuels performs emergency surgery on a gunshot victim.
Dr. White faces an ethical dilemma as he tries to convince a grieving family to sign an autopsy consent form, and Dr. Craig is stunned when his old college roommate checks in for a sex-change operation.
Dr. Armstrong investigates a man's medical and family history to determine the cause of his chronic nose bleeds, while Dr. Chandler struggles to help an amnesiac patient regain his memory.
Dr. Auschlander faces the prospect of undergoing chemotherapy for his liver cancer, while a female flasher stalks the halls of the hospital. Dr. Fiscus makes life dificult for Dr. Ehrlich when he "temporarily" moves in with him.
The E.R. is swamped with casualties resulting from a wave of racial violence plaguing Boston, and a hospitalized streetwalker attracts a steady stream of shady well-wishers.
An affable porno star tries to duck a repugnant summons server, and Dr. Armstrong suspects that a surgeon is receiving kickbacks for unnecessarily installing expensive pacemakers.
A man's request that his brother be allowed to die with dignity is denied by hospital administrators, and sparks fly when Dr. Fiscus substitutes for Dr. Ehrlich on a date with Nurse Daniels.
Brandishing a pistol, a pregnant woman takes Doctors Ehrlich and Craig hostage because the mother-of-eight is enraged over her husband's botched vasectomy.
Dr. Morrison treats a man determined to drink himself to death, and Dr. Chandler faces a malpractice suit after a patient suffers a fatal coronary. Meanwhile, Dr. Craig is attracted to Dr. Anya, a visiting Hungarian surgeon.
Dr. Craig's disposition is uncharacteristically upbeat as he's further drawn to Dr. Anya, and Dr. White's increasingly reckless behavior lands him in jail.
Doctors Morrison and Ehrlich are at odds over how to treat a man who, unknown to them, is a "Baron von Munchausen,"a patient who revels in having unnecessary surgeries.
Dr. Morrison tries to focus on his work while his wife lies in labor, and the drug-addicted Dr. White is suspected of pilfering prescription medication.