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Having just completed his medical schooling at Harvard, Michael Corday arrives at the Department of Neurology at New York City's Bellevue Hospital to begin his internship. Michael's snobbish father, John Corday, is also a physician, as is his sister Mariette's fiancé, George Esmond. When Michael accuses George of being an opportunist and wanting to marry Mariette only to be associated with a prominent family of doctors, George denies the accusation. At the hospital, Michael's emergency room internship gets off to a bad start when he is accused by another physician, Dr. Granville, of being brusque with his patients. As rumors of Michael's poor bedside manners spread throughout the department, Michael begins to take notice of the criticism and decides to change his ways.
When one of his patients, a penniless candy store employee named Evelyn Heldon, complains about being placed in a crowded room for the "moribund," Michael has her transferred to another room. Michael eventually befriends Evelyn and sees to it that her complicated lung abscess operation is performed by Dr. Francis I. Garard, the best surgeon in the department. Meanwhile, Michael's young sister Fabienne decides to defy her father's wishes and leaves home to live on her own in Greenwich Village. The Corday family is thrown into further turmoil when Michael falls in love with Evelyn, and Michael's father asks Frank to pay Evelyn to leave him. Michael is devastated when he learns of the pay-off, and wanders the streets in search of her.
After seeking the advice of Dr. Alfred Norton, who suggests that he follow his heart, Michael finds Evelyn working hard at her taffy machine. Noticing that she does not have enough money to buy food, Michael decides to postpone his marriage plans until he can help her regain her strength. Back at the Corday home, Michael's father falls ill, and because Fabienne refuses to return home to care for him, Mariette is forced to call off her wedding to do so. With Evelyn's help, Michael opens a private practice on Third Avenue, in a poorer neighborhood, but he eventually starts to long for an apprenticeship under a skilled doctor. Late one night, Fabienne, whose boyfriend has deserted her, collapses at Michael's doorstep. Hemorrhaging from a botched abortion, Fabienne is rushed to a doctor, but dies in surgery. After caring for a young boy who has injured his hand, Michael decides to continue practicing medicine on Third Avenue, and he and Evelyn look forward to running a successful practice together.