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 St. Eligius 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. Other dedicated doctors, such as Annie Cavanero and Jack Morrison, struggle gamely against apathy, faceless bureaucrats, and demanding patients. Some of their colleagues are the talented surgeon Dr. Ben Samuels and the irrepressible Dr. Wayne Fiscus.