Disillusioned with the medical profession and what it had become, long time doctor Matt Powers stunned his family and friends with his plans to retire. Matt would constantly butt heads with the hospital administrator, Emerson Mitchell, over budget cuts and hospital politics. Adding to the hostility between the two would be the fact that Dr. Mitchell was currently dating Matt’s ex-wife Dr. Maggie Hanson. Meanwhile, the career driven Dr. Althea Gibson dated the very ambitious Gordon Prescott. When Gordon’s father paid a visit to him, he’d be turned off by Althea’s strong sense of independence and her commitment to her career. In some ways, Sumner Prescott wanted his son to settle down with a woman who would undoubtedly settle down with his playboy son. The whole town would rally around the bedside of the comatose Dr. Steve Aldrich (The final three years of THE DOCTORS being a figment of Steve’s mind.), the victim of a car accident. For three years, his wife, Carolee, unwaveringly sat at his bedside hoping for the best, and yet there’d be no change in his condition. Returning to the family fold after ten years of having declared independence from her controlling mother, Dr. Cal Kincaid would arrive in town to accompany Carolee at her brother’s bedside. Losing faith, Carolee would contemplate taking her husband off of life support. While Cal vehemently opposed the idea, Mona would try to illustrate her side of the issue, supporting such an action after three years of torture. In the midst of all this, Carolee would seek comfort in the arms of Dr. Tom Crawford, a surgeon at Hope Memorial that Carolee had met three years ago. For those three years, Tom had become Carolee’s shoulder to lean on.
A variety of new faces entered the focus. Cal’s senator husband, attorney Derek Kincaid shared a romantic past with Althea. Maggie’s niece Louise Parker and her cop husband Emmett. Emmett was haunted by memories from the Vietnam War. The Fullards entered the focus as well; they were headed by the abusive and alcoholic Burton. A widowed Burton resided with his two sons, Cyrus Fullard, a young teenage prodigy and the recently released from prison Tobias, who now worked at the hospital as a janitor. Accompanying the Fullards, would be the Kalikrates family who ran Pops Moon Palace, a diner frequented by much of the staff at the hospital. The family was composed of the eccentric Pops Kalikrates, the young and brooding Tony, and Alicia, a young social climber in training who envied the Aldrich’s wealth and power. Business mogul Walt Richards was Mona’s husband of three years, and continued to fight an uphill battle with pancreatic cancer. Carolee’s mother was revealed to have been living in Madison for quite some time after Steve’s accident. Emma helped Carolee raise Erich and Stephanie in Steve’s absence, and helped Carolee deal with Billy’s death. Emma ran the Simpson boarding house, not too far from the hospital, where Darren Match and Natalie Bell resided. Jason was revealed to be engaged to Simone Carlyle, a woman that worked for him at his law practice. Unbeknownst to Jason, his mother, Mona orchestrated his break up with Nola, by paying a woman to seduce her son. Taking her scheme even further, she arranged for Simone and Jason to hook up in order to prevent Simone’s mother, Edith, from selling her share of Aldrich Enterprises.
Mona butted heads with the help at the mansion, while constantly smothering her ill husband. Mona continually feared losing her husband, but Walt would help Mona realize that letting him enjoy some of the finer things in life would not be the death of him. Carolee’s mother, Emma, was confident that she had met Mr. Richards before. Meanwhile Mona’s goddaughter, Elizabeth Stoddard had come to stay with her. The young girl appeared to have lived a tragic life, having lost her father only a few months ago. Meanwhile Elizabeth’s mother was nowhere to be seen while she grieved the loss of her father.
The hospital was placed under lockdown when accused rapist Fredrick Garland took Carolee hostage. Matt and Maggie found themselves stuck in the elevator and were forced to sort through their problems. Greta grew close to the mysterious Tobias, while Natalie seethed in the background. As cops Emmett and Nate searched for the suspect, Emmett recapped to his partner how he came to hold grudge against Mona. Two years ago, Emmett tried to pin a murder on Mona, a murder that Emmett still believed she was guilty of. Tom and Mike played hero by rescuing Carolee from Fredrick’s clutches. In the midst of such a life threatening experience, Carolee decided not to take her husband off of life support.
Simultaneously, while the hospital was placed on lockdown, Mona’s reckless grandson, and Cal’s son, Peter collided head on with a taxi in Chicago. The young man had been on his way to Madison, when his car collided with a taxi, containing a feisty pregnant teenager named Stacey. Perhaps doing the most mature and responsible thing in his short young life, Peter stayed with the young woman and helped her give birth. Shortly after paying off the taxi driver to say it was his fault, Peter paid a visit to Stacey to make sure that she was alright. When Peter departed, Stacey parted ways with her newborn, tearfully giving the baby up for adoption.
The lockdown would have lasting ramifications; Tom grappled with the fact that he intentionally took another man’s life and it left him unable to operate on his patients. Seeking advice from Matt, Tom would reluctantly agree to seek counseling, while keeping his psychiatrist mother in the dark. Matt dealt with the fact that a woman had died en route to Hope Memorial during the lockdown, which he implemented. The ill woman had been sent across town to another hospital, and would be pronounced dead on arrival. Drake Corbin, the husband of the deceased was out for blood and sued Hope Memorial. Reporter Bill Avery was out to prove that Matt was irresponsible in his decision to lock down the hospital that fateful night. All of this would deeply sadden Matt to know that his final days at the hospital would be mired in scandal.
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