Grey's Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy: 10 Times A Surgeon Had To Save An Antagonist

Surgeons on Grey's Anatomy are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to saving someone's life. Especially when they have to save the bad guy.

As the longest-running scripted primetime show currently on air, Grey’s Anatomy has seen many memorable patients admitted to Seattle Grace Hospital. As season 18 draws to a close, there’s no better time to reflect on some of the show’s most dramatic moments – which often revolve around the hospital’s many patients, particularly those who serve to antagonize the hospital’s hardworking staff.

Surgeons at times are pushed to their limits when it comes to saving the bad guy, doing everything in their power to keep a promise to the oath they made upon becoming doctors. The medical drama never fails to bring emotion to center stage when surgeons’ livelihoods are on the line.

“It’s The End Of The World” / “As We Know It” (Season 2, Episodes 16 & 17)

James Carlson puts not only himself but the entire hospital in danger when a reenactment with his best friend goes wrong and he ends up with an unexploded bomb in his chest. Christina Ricci guest stars as a young paramedic who puts her hand inside the patient’s body, not realizing that a prohibited explosive was the cause of his injuries.

The hospital goes into a “code black” and Richard calls the bomb squad, creating tension for viewers as Alex Karev races to warn the surgeons in the OR about the dire situation. While Burke informed James’ wife that he survived, the stunt her husband pulled caused the life of the leader of the bomb squad, Dylan Young, when it exploded as he was removing it from the hospital.

“Wishin’ And Hopin'” (Season 3, Episode 14)

Marina Wagner becomes a threat to the entire staff after George discovers that the herbal supplements she had been taking have mixed with her chemo medicine, making her blood toxic. One by one the attendings collapse after being exposed to the toxin, and it’s up to the interns to finish the surgery.

Meredith, Izzie, and Cristina tag-team as they enter the room one by one, holding their breath as they listen to the instructions The Chief gives them. The episode creates an air of tension as every doctor risks their safety for the patient’s life. Amazingly, Marina survives thanks to the surgeons’ efforts.

“Crash Into Me Part 1 & 2” (Season 4, Episodes 9 & 10)

This episode has a powerful demonstration of surgeons having to rise above for the sake of a patient’s care. A paramedic named Shane becomes injured after two ambulances crash, and when Bailey tries to examine him he refuses to let her, demanding a male doctor. At first, she thinks it’s a sexist thing, but it quickly comes to light the paramedic is racist with a swastika tattoo on his abdomen.

Bailey’s patience is pushed to its limits when Shane then demands at least one white doctor is present for his surgery to assure she doesn’t kill him. At the end of the two-part episode, the paramedic tries finding sympathy for his belief system from George O’Malley, and George says what everyone else is thinking when he tells him he believes the world would be a better place without racists like him.

“In The Midnight Hour” (Season 5, Episode 9)

The interns find themselves in trouble when an unnecessary appendectomy they perform on Sadie Harris goes terribly wrong. Meredith’s friend from college cheated her way into med school and caused tension between Cristina and Meredith since the first day of her arrival, making Sadie an unpopular supporting character.

When Sadie realized the other interns were performing sutures and epidurals on each other for practice, she convinces Lexie to take out her appendix. Sadie lived, thanks to Meredith and Cristina who immediately call Bailey after realizing what the interns had done, but the stunt almost cost all of them their jobs.

“Sympathy For The Devil” (Season 5, Episode 12)

A serial killer is attacked in prison and brought to the hospital which creates an emotional debate about the death row penalty. Derek deals with strong emotions upon William Dunn’s arrival and reveals that his father was murdered, but the men were never caught, creating a personal goal for him to get the patient well enough to face the lethal injection sentence awaiting him.

Meredith struggles to see Derek’s point of view, creating a rift between the couple in the episode as she finds herself sympathizing with the man who killed five women. Meredith tries to sabotage Derek’s hard work by telling William that if he hits his head he’ll die, but Cristina intervenes and they’re able to stabilize him, the episode ending with his execution in prison.

“Tainted Obligation” (Season 6, Episode 4)

Meredith is faced with a tough decision when her father, Thatcher Grey, comes to the hospital with signs of end-stage liver failure. Throughout the series, Thatcher is seen as a bad guy in Meredith’s eyes because he “abandoned” her and her mother as a young child.

Lexie Grey gives an emotional statement when advocating for Thatcher, talking about all of the ways he’s been a wonderful father to her, and pleading with Meredith to help him survive. The speech from Lexie strikes a chord with Meredith, and she eventually agrees to donate a piece of her liver for Thatcher out of love for her sister.

“Perfect Little Accident” (Season 6, Episode 16)

It’s always a letdown when someone’s hero proves to be a jerk, and that’s what happened in this episode where the Harper Avery himself is brought to the hospital by Jackson, who turns out to be his grandson. Throughout his stay he was condescending and a know-it-all, even requesting only the best to perform his surgery, pressuring Richard Webber to do it and let him remain awake to watch.

Richard Webber had recently stepped down as chief of surgery due to his struggles with alcohol, and it put severe stress on him to have such a renowned surgeon watching his every move during the surgery. After complications due to an allergy, Derek steps in and tells Harper Avery he’ll deem him unfit to make his own medical decisions if he refuses to go under anesthesia the second time, and they’re able to remedy the situation.

“The Sound Of Silence” (Season 12, Episode 9)

A patient named Lou suffers from hyper-aggression after having a seizure and attacks Meredith Grey in the hospital room. While he didn’t come off as a bad guy at the beginning of the episode, a majority of the doctors let their emotional reaction at Meredith being severely injured view him as an enemy.

Bailey informs Grey that Lou had suffered from a severe epidural hematoma but that he had been discharged after a successful surgery. The episode shows a powerful message of forgiveness when Lou comes back to apologize to Meredith for what he’s done and her ability to accept that forgiveness to overcome her trauma at the horrific experience.

“True Colors” (Season 13, Episode 23)

The surgeons have no idea of the seriousness of the situation when two people they assume are a couple wind up in the hospital half naked with severe injuries. At first, Stephanie finds Keith as a caring boyfriend when he insists on checking on Alison after they’re recovering from their surgeries, but the mood swiftly changes as Alison reveals to Bailey that Keith was actually a stranger who tried to rape her.

The hospital goes on lockdown, and Keith holds Stephanie hostage as she’s forced to help him find an exit without being caught. The episode is high-paced and thrilling, especially when a massive explosion puts everyone’s safety on the line.

“My Shot” (Season 16, Episode 8)

Meredith is on trial for insurance fraud and it’s the ultimate plot twist when the man who killed Derek is one of the doctors deciding the fate of her future as a surgeon. Her lawyer tells her to be quiet, but it becomes too much when Paul Castello begins questioning those who are close to her, seeming not to remember who she is. She yells at Paul, telling him that he’s dangerous and made a life-threatening mistake that took Derek’s life.

Shortly after, Paul suffers from a seizure, and Meredith tells the paramedics to bring him to Grey Sloan for the very best care and to not forget the head CT. Despite everyone’s efforts, he passed away, but it was a powerful tribute to how hard they tried to save him considering his role in Derek’s death.

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