The Patience Health Clinic is the sole medical facility within the town of Patience. As such, nearly every resident of the town steps foot in it at some point in their life. Dr. Sam Hodges was the chief and sole physician of the clinic, the "town doctor," with at least two nurses working underneath him: Asta Twelvetrees and Ellen Cho. When Hodges dies unexpectedly, Harry Vanderspeigle is summoned to the clinic as the only other doctor in the area in order to perform the autopsy. Unknown to anyone else, Vanderspeigle is an alien with a mission to destroy all humans. After performing the autopsy, Vanderspeigle agrees to remain as the temporary new town doctor and remains on until a more permanent replacement, Dr. Ethan Stone, is found by Mayor Ben Hawthorne.
Dr. Ethan Stone is later kidnapped by government agents who are searching for the alien. He is kidnapped because the boy Max Hawthorne tells them that the alien is the "town doctor," not realizing that it is Vanderspeigle they are actually looking for. Dr. Stone's disappearance is soon noticed by both Asta Tweveletrees and Ellen, who are forced to work additional shifts to pick up the slack. Mayor Hawthorne eventually finds a new doctor, Dr. Smallwood, who graduated from Harvard Medical School. Nobody, however, is really satisfied with the replacement, as it was in the 1940s that Smallwood graduated. She is a frizzled, befuddled elderly woman who believes that Mayor Hawthorne is his nonexistent twin brother. Ultimately, Dr. Smallwood's job performance is deemed unsatisfactory, forcing Mayor Hawthorne to fire her. With no other good options, he hosts a surprise birthday for Dr. Vanderspeigle in the hope of getting him to come back to work for the clinic.