Antonio Iturralde and Miguel Ibañez, originally from Mexico City, met in high school and were inseparable ever since. They finished school and left for the U.S. to pursue a degree in Medicine. They graduated top of their class and both managed to be admitted as residents into the “Archer Foundation” Hospital in San Diego. They both got married and had children. Antonio married Isabella and had Enrique and a few years later Magda was born, Miguel and Rosa’s daughter.
Years went by and Miguel Ibañez became Head of the Surgery Department and Antonio Iturralde became Head of the Medical Clinic Department. They both competed neck to neck to attain the General Director position and it was Ibañez who finally succeeded.
Their children, Enrique and Magda, grew up so close it was inevitable that they would fall in love with each other. Happiness seemed to reign in both families but the close relationship between the two couples brewed a secret love affair between Antonio Iturralde’s wife, Isabella, and Miguel. They had a brief and passionate affair, which Isabella put an end to. She ended the relationship because she realized her husband was her only true love and the affair with Miguel had just been a fleeting adventure. The breakup and the feeling of despair for having betrayed his best friend led Miguel to start drinking.
Alcohol and surgery are not a good combination. Antonio had to cover for Miguel several times and silence the whispering in the hospital’s corridors, until one day tragedy struck: Miguel arrived drunk at the hospital; he confused patients and removed a kidney from a girl who was admitted for a simple peritonitis. The presence of residents and other professionals in the operating room made the scandal inevitable. Antonio had no other choice but to report his friend for malpractice.
Unaware of the reasons for her husband's alcohol problem, Rosa cataloged Antonio’s actions as betrayal and reaffirmed her beliefs when she learned that he was the main candidate to replace him in his position as General Director at the hospital. From then on the war between the families never ceased. They grew further and further apart as events unfolded. Miguel was removed from his position; Antonio took his place as the Director supported by most of the Board of Directors after having convinced the girl's family not to file a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital but only against Miguel. The Ibanez lost everything: their reputation and their money. They had to sell their house to cover the costs of the lawsuit and finally Miguel, overwhelmed from the guilt of ruining his family’s future, committed suicide, but not before leaving a letter which liberated his friend of his misfortune and confessed to his wife his love for Isabella, their brief romance and the fact that Isabella had ended it.
But her husband’s posthumous confessions did not soften Rosa’s heart; actually, they did quite the opposite. Now, not only had she lost all her economic means but, if the truth came out, she would also lose her reputation and social standing. Rosa kept the letter to herself and never told anyone of its existence let alone its content. To everyone she was and still is the loyal widow of a man unjustly betrayed by his power-hungry friend. Miguel's death was instrumental in Enrique and Magda’s breakup. It was now unthinkable that the love between them would ever prosper.
Immediately following the acceptance of his father’s new position, Enrique was off to study medicine. To get away from Magda and forget her for once and for all he decided to attend the School of Medicine at NYU. He headed to New York once he was accepted. Among his classmates, he met Soledad Madero, a very intelligent young woman but not very attractive, she was a second generation of nationalized Mexican immigrants, whose father Ricardo Madero was a famous heart surgeon member of the Board of Surgery in the city.
Enrique’s first winter in New York was rough; he started having mild dizziness and disorientation. Enrique’s little knowledge in medicine was enough to let him know this couldn’t be something good. Soledad, who was madly in love with him offered to help him. Under her father’s supervision, he did all the relevant studies and was diagnosed with an inoperable congenital neuropathy. A diagnosis that would have been a good one for anyone else, but for Enrique it was a death sentence. What hospital will want to hire a doctor who can pass out in the middle of a consultation or have a crisis and get lost for hours in the corridors of the hospital not knowing who he is or where he needs to go? His medical career was over before it began. But Soledad saw the opportunity to get the man of her dreams and privately begged her father to help her. Ricardo, using his contacts, managed to erase Enrique’s medical history and replaced it with one that made no reference to his illness. To avoid his symptoms Ricardo prescribed Enrique a cocktail of psychotropic drugs that he himself provided. Enrique was feeling like himself again and felt so much gratitude for Soledad and her family that he initially mistook it for love and married her.
Meanwhile, Magda never got married, even though immediately after leaving Enrique she began dating Juan Farrell while they both journeyed together to the University of San Diego to study medicine. Within a few days there, Magda surprisingly left Juan, abandoned the school and returned to San Diego. After a few months of confinement, she announced her pregnancy, lying that it was the product of a brief relationship with Alvaro Marquez. Everyone thought the young Marquez didn’t want to be responsible for the baby and within months Gael was born. With the help of her mother, Rosa, she was able to raise Gael and obtain her degree in the local university. She graduated top of her class and was hired by Archer as a surgery resident.
When Enrique returned from New York now married to Soledad and as a doctor he also managed to be hired by the institution. He never told anyone, not even his father about his illness and it’s that secret and his gratitude that keeps him together with his wife.
That’s how they all worked for years in the same hospital, Antonio as the General Director, Enrique who with the years became Head of the Internal Medicine Department and Magda who later became Head of the Surgery Department. Apparently the three kept their distances.
From the marriage between Enrique and Soledad the twins were born, Rodolfo and Elena. Soledad never completed her medical degree and went on to be a housewife and raise the twins, who, when grown followed the family tradition and studied medicine.
Gael also decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and inherited her brilliance and love for Hippocrates’ practice. He also has a very special gift, especially for a surgeon: he is ambidextrous.
Gael and Elena are the protagonists of our story.