Dr. Mary Leland, of Cedars Hospital of Los Angeles, was introduced as the roommate of a young model named Jan Carter. Mary, a dedicated surgeon hired by Dr. Reginald Parker, was constantly encountering prejudice because she was a woman doctor. There was one patient, however, who trusted Mary implicitly: a warm, down-to-earth German immigrant known simply as Mama Bauer. Mama and her husband, Friedrich (Papa) Bauer, had three children: Meta, Bill and Gertrude (Trudy). Six years earlier, Meta had fled the family home because Papa was an Old World tyrant who refused to allow her the freedoms enjoyed by typical American girls. Papa had since destroyed all pictures of Meta and forbade the family to ever mention her name. However, now Mama had cancer, and she longed to see Meta again.
Pained to see how much his sick wife missed Meta, Papa told his family that he regretted driving his eldest child away. It was now his fondest wish to find Meta and bring her home before Mama died. What the Bauer family didn't realize, though, was that Meta was Jan Carter! Meta kept this secret until she found herself in a sad predicament -- she was pregnant by Ted White, a man she had used but did not love. Meta confided in the Rev. Dr. Charles Matthews, the pastor of the Church of the Good Samaritan, and sought refuge at a convent in New York, where she gave birth to a baby boy whom Dr. Matthews and Mary arranged to be adopted by Mary's neighbor's Charlotte and Ray Brandon. Unaware of the identities of their child's biological parents, the Brandons named their son Charles (Chuckie), after Dr. Matthews, and looked forward to a happy life.
Meanwhile, Mary found herself falling in love with one of her patients, a man named, Michael Cellini. Michael had come into Cedars, suffering from leukemia. Michael, a young man in his early thirties, had been an army officer and was stationed in Nevada during the testing of the Atom bomb. Michael's case looked bleak, and Mary was uncertain about how to help him. All she could do was offer comfort. Then as if a miracle occurred, Michael's leukemia went into remission. Now healthy, Michael told Mary that he loved her and they began a love affair. When a vindictive nurse at Cedars (who had fallen for Michael, herself) discovered the love affair she went to Dr. Ross Bolling. Ross informed Mary that she’d stepped into a potential conflict of interest by having an affair with a patent and strongly suggested that she call it off. Mary, afraid of losing her job and medical license, did as Ross suggested and told Michael that they had to end their affair. The vindictive nurse then started after Michael, herself. Later when a Cedars hospital board inquiry into Mary and Michael's love affair was convened, Ross was able to clear Mary by telling the board that there was no affair—which was true because by that time it had ended.