Anne Benedict was a very wealthy and spoiled young woman who was incredibly charming. Anne had been raised in San Francisco where her parents, Henry and Helene, were country club cronies of Richard and Laura Grant's. Anne was also very sick and being treated by Dr. Paul Fletcher. When Anne took a turn for the worse and was diagnosed with endocarditis, Paul saved her life and then decided to stay to oversee her recovery.Reluctantly, Paul allowed his mother, Marian Winters, to be Anne's private nurse because of her past experience (of being a nurse in Chicago), but he was not pleased to see nurse and patient become friendly -- after all, Marian and Paul had not told anyone at Cedars that they were mother and son. Soon after, Anne's parents arrived in town along with Anne's fiancé, Tom Sloane. Paul was instantly antagonistic toward Tom, who was to the manner born while Paul and Anne were finding themselves very attracted to each other. To the horror of Henry Benedict, a nouveau riche snob, Anne broke her engagement to Tom and agreed to marry Paul. News of Paul and Anne's engagement reached San Francisco and caught the eye of a man in Santa Clara. The man was Fred Fletcher. Fred was a widower with a daughter, Jane, and he thought Paul bore an uncanny resemblance to the son he had lost in the Korean War. Suspecting that they were related, Fred wrote Paul a letter, which Paul promptly tore up. Anne innocently mentioned this to Marian as well as to her parents. On the sly, Henry went to Chicago to investigate Paul's past, then visited Fred in Santa Clara but was cagey about his purpose. Ashamed to tell Anne he was illegitimate, and feeling his past was closing in on him, Paul asked her to elope.
Suspicious of Henry, Fred came to town, looked up Marian and told her about Henry's visit. She admitted to Fred that Paul was his son. Marian explained that by the time she found out she was pregnant, Fred had already decided to go back to his wife and children, and she felt she had no right to break up his family. In time, Paul established a relationship with Fred and apologized to Marian for being ashamed of both her and himself. Henry also apologized to Paul and went back to San Francisco with Helene, while Marian married Paul's friend, a pharmacist named John Lipsey. At last Paul was able to accept who he was, and rejoiced when Anne bore him a son, John.
A couple of years later, one of Alex Bowden's ex-wives, Doris Crandall, arrived from San Francisco, with her young son with Alex, Carter, in hopes of winning Alex back. While renewing a prescription for her medication, Doris consulted Paul Fletcher and the two formed an instant rapport. Paul hired Doris to be his receptionist, much to the consternation of Anne, who considered Doris a deadbeat drunk. Anne was later horrified when Paul resigned his chief of staff post at Cedars to open a clinic in an impoverished, often violent neighborhood. Even worse, Paul insisted they move into a house next door to the clinic. In time, Anne discovered that she and Doris had a great deal in common. Like Anne, Doris came from a finishing school background and had the same understated "old money" tastes. Unfortunately, a friendship between the two was not to be, much to the dismay of Paul. The pressure on Paul was becoming unbearable. Because of his poor patients' inability to pay their medical bills, his clinic was failing. To maximize his chances of getting at least a few solvent patients, Paul worked virtually around the clock. During his few off-hours, Anne bombarded him with complaints that she was unable to afford new clothes, and she hounded him to give up the clinic in favor of a lucrative job back at Cedars.
Anne had a potent ally in her father who was spending more time in town due to various business commitments. Henry was horrified by the gang violence that was erupting in the clinic's neighborhood and convinced his darling girl to get a gun for her own protection. In the meantime, Paul was constantly battling his wife and father-in-law, especially when Henry announced his plans to buy them a house in a prestigious neighborhood, complete with a huge playground for his deserving grandson, Johnny. Anne's mother, Helene, was more supportive of Paul and his ideals, and she admonished Anne to stop acting like a child. Meanwhile, in her determination to save Paul's clinic, Doris convinced Alex to invest heavily in the facility. Anne was livid at this development and served Paul with an ultimatum: the clinic or their marriage. She prevailed upon Alex’s estranged wife, Robin, to change Alex's mind about the loan, insidiously implying that the business deal was evidence of a renewed bond between Alex and Doris. Anne and Robin lashed into Doris so brutally that Doris went on a bender. When Doris finally resurfaced back at the clinic, she got a hold of Anne's gun and threatened suicide. In an effort to retrieve the gun, Paul grappled with Doris. The gun went off and the bullet hit Anne who died on the operating table.
Full of self-recrimination, Paul impulsively confessed to killing his wife. His chances of acquittal looked dismal because Doris had blocked out the tragic event, and Henry was snidely feeding the prosecution's case against his son-in-law. Luckily, George Hayes mounted a brilliant criminal defense with Mike Bauer's eager assistance. Feeling guilty over their indirect roles in Anne's death, Alex and Robin agreed to a divorce and dedicated themselves to clearing Paul's name. Robin went to work at the clinic while Alex scoured the neighborhood bars until he found a bartender who remembered Doris' alcoholic bender on the night of the tragedy. Doriss' memory finally returned, and she testified that Anne's shooting was accidental.