There’s no denying that Grey’s Anatomy works extremely well. This is a show that continues to draw in massive audiences even after being on the air for what feels like two decades and keeping pretty much the exact same formula throughout. Over the years, Grey’s has been responsible for creating some of the industry’s biggest stars. It’s also been responsible for creating some of the medical world’s most unbelievable storylines. No one will ever claim that Grey’s Anatomy is the most accurate medical show ever made. In fact, most medical professionals would probably rate this show as the one that gets the most wrong. That’s nothing to be ashamed of really. Fans don’t really want medical accuracy. They want drama. Well, they get drama. That’s for sure.
But what about the mistakes? What does the show get wrong exactly? If you were to ask a medical professional, it might be quicker to ask them to list the things that the show gets right. But we don’t want the easy way out. We want to list the things in Grey’s Anatomy that made the least amount of sense. We have gone through and chosen the moments from the show that have defied all medical logic. These are those events that made doctors cringe and made us, the audience, a little stupider. Some of these had errors clear enough for us regular folk to spot, but others might have slipped by you. Here are 15 Things in Grey’s Anatomy that Made Absolutely No Sense.
15. The Scariest MRI
Way back in season two’s episode “Band Aid Covers the Bullet Hole,” there was a patient who had a fork in her neck. Now, the way that the episode plays out does make this order of events quite confusing, but it appears that something very strange happens. When they are looking at the fork, before it is removed from this patient’s neck, Dr. Derek Shepherd asks Meredith to do an MRI. It’s unclear if the MRI is done before or after the fork is removed, but the show sure makes it seem like it was done before. We believe this because Derek is reviewing the MRI results almost immediately after the fork was removed as if they did the MRI, then removed the fork, and then reviewed the MRI scans. This is a scary thought because the M in MRI stands for magnetic. An MRI machine is a giant magnet. That fork would have been sucked right out of the lady’s neck.
14. Meredith Drowning
Fans of Grey’s Anatomy are used to seeing Meredith survive the impossible. She’s been the victim of numerous attacks and disasters that would kill even the strongest of humans…but not her. The closest she ever came to death was in season three, the episode “Drowning on Dry Land.” In this one, Meredith falls into water and treads for a while. She then decides to die or whatever because she simply stops swimming. She slowly descends to the bottom of the water and stays there waiting to die. Luckily for her, she has nine lives. About 20 minutes later, Derek comes to her rescue, pulling her to land. He then performs CPR. Soon after that, Meredith is then brought back to life. She then dies a few more times before she makes a miraculous recovery.
13. Dealing With Malignant Hyperthermia
In the episode “Suddenly,” the Seattle Grace surgeons are confronted with a boy who has malignant hypothermia. This is a condition or a reaction to certain medications, specifically the main ones used in general anaesthesia. Now, the show does get a few things right with the condition, but they seem to treat it more like an allergic reaction than anything else. They also talk about waiting until the patient is awake to continue their surgery. That’s crazy talk. They simply needed to use non-triggering anaesthetics, such as Total Intravenous Anaesthesia (TIVA).
12. Ghost Deeds
We didn’t want to talk about this, but what the hell, everybody else wants to talk about it so we will oblige. The moment that Izzie slept with a ghost was the moment that Grey’s Anatomy lost a lot of fans. Maybe the fans didn’t totally stop watching the show, but they never looked at it the same way again. In season five, the dead Denny came back to haunt Izzie. He showed up as a ghost and started talking to her. That was fine. But when the two got intimate, we checked out. That’s right. Izzie, a living human being, and a ghost sleep together. It was difficult to know what was really going on here, but the implication is enough to make Grey’s lose all credibility. Like what was actually happening in that room?
11. Surgeons Run Everything
One of the biggest criticisms that Grey’s Anatomy receives from the medical world is that they severely downplay the role of the nurses. In this show, surgeons do basically everything and nurses stand around as eye candy. In real life, nurses do an insane amount of the detail work and surgeons check in once in a while and do the surgeries. In Seattle Grace Hospital, however, surgeons do it all. They even man the MRI and CT scanners. They are also the ones who read the results instead of, say, a trained technician. In Grey’s Anatomy, the city of Seattle is on the verge of collapsing. There’s a catastrophic disaster every week, yet this hospital has surgeons watching patients all through the night. We have other surgeons handling incoming patients in the ER, straight off the ambulance, even before they know if the patient is surgical or not. Don’t you have more important things to do? Stop wasting your time putting IVs in and do a surgery.
10. Post-Surgery Meeting
Since this probably only happens because the TV show would be boring if they didn’t allow for conversation between multiple surgeons, we will forgive them for this. But, we still have to mention it. In almost every episode, after a surgery is complete or while it’s going on, there is a gathering of surgeons in the operating room. We’ve called this the post-surgery meeting, and it’s tradition on Grey’s Anatomy. It would also almost never happen in the real world. How these surgeons have time to casually check on their friends is beyond us. Seeing three surgeons in one room is like a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but at Seattle Grace Hospital, it happens several times a day.
9. Bailey’s OCD
In season 10, the writers of Grey’s Anatomy decided that the character of Bailey needed a major change. So, they gave her OCD. Now, we won’t say that adult onset OCD is impossible, because it isn’t. But this story felt very forced and very sudden. Having said that, the depiction of the disease in the show appears to be fairly accurate. That’s a good thing. The issue we have and the thing that makes absolutely no sense is that after Bailey first takes medication, we never again hear of her OCD. Sure, it would be wonderful if medication worked this flawlessly, but this feels more like a forgotten or abandoned story arc than a miracle cure.
8. Ben And The Hallway C-section
Late in season 12, when the hospital goes into a Code Pink because of missing child, the doors and elevators are all inexplicably locked up. This alone is craziness, but it gets much worse. This unbelievably illogical lockdown puts Ben in a difficult spot because he is with a patient who is in need of an emergency C-section. Luckily, he also has a code cart nearby. He then goes through with the C-section. The dumb part about this is that code carts (crash carts) don’t have surgical instruments in them. We will let this one slide because both the mother and baby sadly die, so it’s not like this was a success. But the deaths weren’t the result of the surgery or the lack of instruments. It was just the way it went. After that, the show really pushed the believability factor when, in the next season, Ben is forced to perform another emergency C-section. This time, he does it on a kitchen table.
7. George Is Named 007
When George O’Malley was given the honor of being named the first intern to do a surgery, we all groaned. This was done out of spite, as if the doctors wanted him to kill someone just to prove a point to the interns. Bailey even says that George barely got into the program and wasn’t ready. Still, they go ahead with the decision. During the surgery, rather than help George keep the patient alive, the onsite surgeon intentionally withholds information, almost begging for the patient to die in George’s care. Now, this is crazy. Even crazier still, when George freezes and is incapable of moving in the middle of a botched surgery, he is pushed out of the way. You would think there would be repercussions for a training surgeon who is completely incompetent, but there are none. Instead, the others just nickname him 007 (because he has a license to kill) and have a laugh about it.
6. Bailey Treats Bubble Boy
The doctors in Grey’s Anatomy have done a lot of things that would be considered criminal, but they almost always get away without any repercussions. One of the worst of these events came in season 10. In one of Bailey’s arcs, a boy was confined to an isolation room because he was vulnerable to infection and his enzyme injections no longer worked. Bailey suggested to the boy’s parents that they use deactivated HIV to deliver the enzyme. The parents say no, fearful of their child contracting HIV. Rather than respect the wishes of the parents, which is the law in this country, Bailey takes it upon herself to go ahead with the procedure. It works. The parents, however, sue Bailey. Unfortunately, she gets away with her crime. A colleague of Bailey’s, Stephanie Edwards, lies and says it was her fault because she neglected to tell Bailey that the parents denied the request. For this catastrophic error, Edwards is suspended a week and Bailey is celebrated as a hero.
5. Izzie Cutting The LVAD Wire
One of the biggest controversies on Grey’s Anatomy came when Izzie’s lover, Denny Duquette, was in need of a heart transplant. It seemed like Denny had good odds of getting a heart at one point, but another patient was placed on the recipient list shortly before him. This caused Izzie to do something crazy. To ensure that his condition worsened, allowing him to move up the recipient list, Izzie intentionally cut the wire on Denny’s LVAD (left ventricular assist device). Izzie admitted to her crime and quit. Incredibly, she was given her job soon after and was placed on probation, a small price to pay for almost killing a man and manipulating the entire medical system and statewide organ donor system.
4. Meredith And The Clinical Trial
In another episode in which the Grey’s Anatomy team breaks all the rules, Meredith decides that she wants a patient to participate in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial. Rather than hope for the best, Meredith chooses to manipulate the study and ensure that her patient and friend get the drug and not the placebo. She tampers with the study and gets her way. Now, she is fired for this. But then, someone else falls on their sword for Meredith, saving her career. In reality, Meredith would still lose her job once the investigation that would surely take place showed that it was her who tampered with the trial. Hell, she might have received jail time. Still, the most improbable of all this is how easy it was for Meredith to tamper with the trial. The trial would be managed by a pharmacy company or the head pharmacist. Surgeons can’t just do whatever they want whenever they want it.
3. Donating Organs
Grey’s Anatomy is not the only medical show who is guilty of this one, but there is one episode in particular which takes the cake for most blatant law-breaking. In “Winning a Battle, Losing a War,” Cristina and Izzie drool over a patient’s organs before he’s dead like they are vultures. They decide that they want his organs to help save the life of one of their friends, so they do their best to get them. They bring in the wife of the dying man and start prodding her, trying desperately to convince her to make her husband an organ donor. You might think this is standard surgeon protocol, but it’s not even close. There are major organizations who handle donor details for a reason. Lists are developed and maintained statewide, not set and organized by individual hospitals. This type of storyline makes people believe that it’s the surgeons’ buddies who will be receiving organ donations first, then the rest of us plebs. In truth, we all have the same shot.
2. The Illegal Autopsy
In perhaps the most shocking discretion on the show, we watch Cristina and Izzie perform an illegal autopsy on a corpse simply because they wanted to. The family of the deceased was against it, but that didn’t matter. When these crooks are caught desecrating a corpse, we hear quirky music chime in as if they’re just two gals having a laugh. Instead of being immediately arrested and thrown in jail for directly ignoring the wishes of the family and committing a heinous crime for their own enjoyment, these two are forgiven and allowed to continue on with their criminal activity with complete immunity. Both Cristina and Izzie broke the law on several occasions, but this might be their worst crime. They both should have been locked up.
1. O’Malley’s Thoracotomy In An Elevator
In “Bring the Pain,” an episode from way back in season two, a power outage causes two interns, George O’Malley and Alex Karev, to get stuck in an elevator with a patient with a gunshot wound in the chest. When he loses vitals, the interns are forced to do an open-heart surgery, specifically a thoracotomy, in an unsterile environment. This surgery goes off without a hitch. We expected that, but this is pretty unbelievable. Yes, it probably could be successful, but this surgery is one of more challenging and frequently unsuccessful in the best of conditions. When it takes place in an elevator and is performed by an intern, the odds of success seem slim to none.
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