In the beginning, Dr. Ellen Burgess came off as a very unapproachable doctor in charge of the interns. In those months since then, she showed that she did have a heart at times. Dr Matt Harmon did a lot to soften her heart. In late 1997, Karen's landlady Alice Morgan had a heartattack. Unbeknownst to any of Ellen's co-workers, Alice was her mother. Alice and Ellen's brother Winston stopped speaking to Ellen when she married a much older man. They had no idea he had died only a few years into the marriage. Ellen began work on repairing her relationships with them. Ellen began a relationship with Matt which endured, even after Chris Ramsey exposed their affair and she was removed from her work with the interns.
Ellen once revealed to Lucy the most romantic night of her life with a mysterious stranger in New Orleans. That man was Sebastian who seemed determined to put a wedge between Ellen and Matt. Ellen didn't love him, but she pitied him. They had sex, and he died a few days later. Ellen continued her relationship with Matt, but Chris exposed her one-nighter with Sebastian and Matt cut her out of his life. Around this time, Dr. Rachel Locke arrived at the hospital. Ellen recognized her, but she wasn't sure from where. To keep her quiet, Rachel arranged for Ellen to get an amazing job out of town. Ellen didn't want to go, she wanted to patch up what she had with Matt. But everyone thought she'd left for the job. Matt tried to contact her in San Fransisco, but he couldn't find her. Her friend Kevin also tried to find her, because he knew she knew Rachel, but she had basically vanished. His efforts to find her ended as soon as the storyline was dropped, and Ellen has been forgotten.