Bernhardi is a Jewish physician in a cooperative private clinic. A young woman in his care is dying of sepsis following an abortion. After weeks of suffering, she falls in a euphoric state of consciousness, not yet being aware of her true condition referring her very low chance to survive. Father Reder, a priest, wishes to give her last rites, but Berhardi refuses him admission in order that the girl may not be made aware that she is about to die, because then she would fall back into her state of despair and suffering. While Berhandi and Father Reder are arguing, the girl dies. A press campaign and public outcry, reflecting the intense anti-semitism of the time, causes Bernhardi to be forced from the clinic he helped found, and sentenced to two months in prison. However, the imprisonment is not severe, and the play ends with a philosophical discussion of the case between a relaxed Bernhardi and a friend following Bernhardi's release, followed by a heated exchange between himself and Father Reder.