Young Curtis Thompson's life changed for the better when, at about 13 years old, he was admitted to Memorial Hospital. Although the attending physician suspected him of being a drug user, due to the needles in his arms, Dr. Ben Harris wasn't so sure and ran some tests that confirmed what he thought--Curtis was a diabetic who took insulin shots. After learning Curtis's identity and getting his file, Ben was shocked to learn that Curtis's legal guardian was none other than Ben's estranged half-brother, Isaac Jenkins. It was Isaac who then filled in Ben to Curtis's family history. Curtis's mother was a drug addict and his father was gone. Though Isaac tried to look after Curtis, the kid ran away and tried to live in the streets. Sympathetic, Ben befriended the boy who was discharged back into Isaac's care. Unfortunately, Isaac wasn't able to stop Curtis from hanging with the wrong crowd and, at the end of the year, Curtis helped to rob Al's Diner. Unfortunately, the robbery didn't go as Curtis had hoped and, when things spiraled out of control, he bolted, jumped in the river, and almost died. Luckily, the charges were dropped when Curtis agreed to go to a halfway house. Months later, came another lucky break for Curtis--Ben was suspended from the hospital for misdiagnosing a patient's paralysis. Convinced that he was right, Ben asked Isaac to help him prove his patient was faking his paralysis, in exchange for Ben taking Curtis in. Surprisingly, Curtis bonded with Ben, and valued the stability that the living arrangement brought. In turn, Ben bonded with Curtis and, after having him in his home for several months, he made plans to officially adopt Curtis. Though Curtis's biological father, who was in prison, tried to stall the proceedings by refusing to sign over his parental rights, when he saw how much Curtis wanted to be in Ben's life he relented and allowed the adoption to happen.
Wanting the best for Curtis, Ben, at some point, sent him to Xavier, a prestigious private school. However, Curtis wasn't happy at school and arranged his own expulsion by letting himself get caught smoking marijuana. Though Ben was furious at first, he finally understood when his new wife, Jessica, told him that Curtis was simply a teenager who wanted to be close to his father.