Doctor Cha Episode 1 recap: After two decades of being away from her medical career. She decides to return to the field as a novice doctor in the same hospital where her husband works.
The story begins with the life of Cha Jung-sook (played by Uhm Jung-hwa), a mother of two who lives as a full-time housewife. She had abandoned her career as a doctor over twenty years ago.
Today, Jung-sook visits a friend’s beauty clinic in central Seoul for a facial treatment. During their time together, she confides in her friend that she and her husband have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for over a decade. However, she believes that marriage is more than just a physical relationship. And that raising children to become successful and contributing members of society is a significant duty. Despite this, Jung-sook still thinks about her life as a medical intern deep down.
On the bus ride home, a man suddenly collapses while getting off the bus. Jung-sook panics and rushes to help the man, but realizes that her medical skills have faded over time. Fortunately, Dr. Roy Kim (played by Min Woo-hyuk) happens to pass by and provides first aid until the man is safely taken to the emergency room.
The scene cuts to Seo In-ho (played by Kim Byung-chul), the head of the colorectal and rectal surgery department and Jung-sook’s husband. He is a highly respected medical doctor, but it is revealed that he is having a secret relationship with his colleague and former classmate, Dr. Choi Seung-hi (played by Myung Se-bin), who is willing to engage in a mistress relationship with him.
At dinner time, Jeong-suk prepares the food as she does every day, ensuring that it is something the whole family can eat together. During the meal, In-ho shows that he is strict with their son, who is currently an intern in medicine, and their high school-aged daughter. He also displays a sense of perfectionism and refined taste. When Jeong-suk changes the coffee beans they regularly drink, In-ho’s face twitches and he swears at her.
However, that night, Jeong-suk decides to try to rekindle her relationship with her husband and invites him to flirt. However, In-ho shows no interest in Jeong-suk and seems to only have eyes for Seung-hi. He is even preparing to attend a seminar in Europe with her the next day.
Acute Liver Failure
The following day, While shopping at the mall, Jeong-suk suddenly passes out and collapses to the floor. She is taken to the hospital. And upon awakening, she is informed that her liver values are dangerously high, indicating a risk of liver failure. Coincidentally, the doctor in charge of her case is Roy Kim, who recommends a liver transplant as soon as possible.
Jeong-suk chooses In-ho as the first relative to inform about her condition. But she decides not to tell him the whole truth. She is afraid that he will worry during his seminar in Europe.
A month later, Dr. Roy Kim informs Jeong-suk about the results of the liver transplant donor compatibility test. It turns out that the most suitable donor is In-ho. However, In-ho’s mother stubbornly objects to her son donating his liver.
Jeong-suk’s mother decides to give all her savings to her grandson in exchange for him to donate his liver to Jeong-suk. Although he initially agrees, he later changes his mind due to fear.
Liver Transplant Operation
Meanwhile, Jeong-suk is admitted to the hospital while waiting for the surgery. Dr. Roy Kim comes to talk to her and encourages her. On the day of the surgery, he even invites her to see the operation in the operation room, hoping it will help her forget about her illness for a while. However, her condition becomes critical soon after.
In-ho sees that his wife is too sick to wait for a donor. So he defies his mother’s orders and agrees to be the donor. Jeong-suk thanks him and confesses her feelings for him. Even though she has often been angry and hated by him for treating her badly. She realizes that in the end, the person she hated is the one who donates her liver to keep her alive. She says through tears, “I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life.”
Before In-ho can sign the consent form for the surgery, his mother intervenes and tears it up. However, Dr. Roy Kim still performs the liver transplant operation for Jeong-suk, even though In-ho doesn’t give his consent at the last moment.
When Jeong-suk wakes up, she swears at her husband, “Damn it!!!” to the shock of In-ho and their two children beside her bed.
Image via JTBC Korea
Watch Doctor Cha Episode 1 on Netflix : click here