Meredith Reade, sister of journalist Fletcher Reade, came to Cedars Hospital, in 1987, to treat the fatally ill Kaz Kowalski. A renowned surgeon, she immediately formed a relationship with the slightly younger Dr. Rick Bauer. Though stand-offish at first, the pair finally bonded. The relationship came under strain however, when Rick's cousin, Johnny, became ill with cancer. Meredith felt that they should stick with conventional treatment, while Rick supported Johnny's holistic approach. Very much against the idea of holistic medicine, Meredith spitefully brought charges against Rick to the medical board. Fortunately for Rick, Maeve Stoddard discovered Meredith’s and Fletcher's secret: that she helped their cancer stricken mother to die by lethal injection. Maeve threatened to tell Ed and Rick about it unless the charges were dropped. Realizing that she was letting her guilt over her mother cloud her judgment, Meredith dropped the charges. She also confessed to Ed about her mother and quit her job. When Rick learned about the truth, he brought Meredith back to Cedars and the pair reconciled.
Unfortunately, they broke up again when Meredith disagreed with Rick’s decision to enter into family medicine instead of becoming a surgeon. Depressed, Meredith found herself taking comfort from Rick’s best friend, Phillip. The following morning, both realized that their lovemaking was a mistake and decided to keep the affair a secret. Not long after, Rick and Meredith got back together and soon became engaged. Not long after, Meredith found out she was pregnant. Realizing that Phillip was the father, a worried Meredith told no one except Blake Lindsey. In love with Phillip herself, Blake cautioned her to keep the information a secret. Not long before her wedding in November 1988, Meredith confessed the truth to Fletcher who urged her to come clean. Too afraid of losing Rick, she decided to stay quiet only to have Rick confront her hours after the wedding! Regretfully, Meredith admitted to the indiscretion but refused to name the father. Though in shock, Rick stood by Meredith and agreed to raise the child. Unfortunately, in April 1989, the delivery didn't go smoothly and Rick was forced to choose between Meredith's life or the baby's—and at Phillip’s suggestion, he chose Meredith. Then, in a letter from Alan Spaulding, Rick learned the identity of the child's father: Phillip, his best friend. Betrayed, Rick bitterly wrote Phillip out of his life, though eventually forgave him. Though he was willing to give his marriage another try, when a remorseful Meredith learned that she could no longer have children, she wrote Rick a good-bye letter and left Springfield because she knew how much he wanted a family.