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Friday, January 13, 2012

Grey’s Anatomy: Doctors Behaving Badly

By Brianne Moore

Grey’s Anatomy has never tried to be all that realistic in its depiction of the workings of a major metro hospital. We’re used to seeing characters act in ways that would almost certainly get them fired and would probably result in their licenses being revoked in the real world. That sort of thing is usually dismissed because it’s the younger docs doing it, and they don’t know any better. But tonight, it was the senior surgeons—almost every single one of them—who were behaving selfishly, childishly, cruelly and in a manner so unprofessional and counterproductive to what they’re supposed to be doing (healing and teaching) that I actually walked away from my TV sort of stunned. What happened here?

The big case of the week is the separation of two conjoined twins—Andi and Brandi (with names like those, I wasn’t surprised the parents looked like they walked out of an episode of 16 and Pregnant). The complex surgery requires multiple teams and many hours, and it’s being insanely, obnoxiously micromanaged by Robbins, who meddles and stresses so much I can’t believe anyone got anything done. Alex was all gung-ho to assist with one of the more complex parts of the procedure, but then Richard plays him like a fiddle, manipulating his way into Alex’s place on the surgery. Really mature, Richard. And to think I used to like our ex-chief.

A few of our docs are forced to miss out on the groundbreaking surgery, for various awful reasons. Bailey, who’s back together with cute anesthesiologist Ben, is getting some serious pressure from him to move in together, even though they’ve only been back together for two weeks. He absolutely refuses to accept her (reasonable, in my opinion) reluctance to shack up and won’t stop pressuring her even during surgery, so she pulls Meredith in to act stupid and serve as a buffer. How grown up, and how marvelous of Bailey to keep Meredith out of a major surgery because Bailey can’t assert herself enough to tell Ben to be professional for a few hours and stop bugging her while she’s trying to save a life. What happened to the no-nonsense Bailey of earlier seasons? I really miss her sometimes.

Cristina’s also not operating on the twins because she’s in surgery with Teddy. Not operating, though. Teddy’s forcing Cristina to go through Henry’s unsuccessful surgery step by step over and over again. And she’s been doing this all day every day for two whole weeks.

For me, this was the most galling part of the episode. First, as coping/grieving mechanisms go, this is particularly toxic. Even poor Kepner, who’s made to listen to this day in and day out can’t take it anymore. Cristina’s in full-on surgical robot mode, even when Teddy calls her decisions into doubt, but this has to be wearing on her. My question is: why has this been allowed to happen? What hospital on earth would allow a surgeon to keep another surgeon hostage for psychological torture purposes? She’s actively keeping Cristina out of surgeries, which is not OK at all, and abusing her. Why hasn’t Hunt stepped in? It’s not like this is a secret—everyone knows what’s going on. It’s completely nuts and so, so wrong.

Back to the babies: they’re separated just fine, but they only have three kidneys between them, and the twin that only gets one has it fail on her. Oddly, nobody knows what to do, until Alex suggests they get a kidney from the other twin, who’s a perfect donor. While everyone scurries to do that, Richard apologizes to Alex for stealing his place in the surgery…and then proceeds to manipulate him into generously allowing the former chief to do the kidney implant. Mid-surgery, Richard starts bragging about how he worked Alex, unnecessarily humiliating the young surgeon. Afterwards, Alex reminds Richard that this is a teaching hospital, and manipulating your way onto surgeries is not a teachable moment. Richard insists that it is, because it taught Alex never to give up his spot on a groundbreaking surgery again. I think it just taught him not to trust Richard, who’s a devious, childish, selfish jerk. I found it particularly sad that he did this to Alex, who’s been so damaged throughout his life that he already has major trust issues. But apparently we were just supposed to laugh this off.

The only docs I didn’t hate by the end of the hour were Meredith and Derek, who are just loving being parents to the impossibly adorable baby Zola. Might I suggest the new parents take a look at our Baby App?

Who do you think behaved the worst this hour? Robbins with her meddling, Hunt for not stepping in when necessary, Bailey for using Meredith, or Teddy for torturing Cristina? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted by: Brianne Moore at 11:27 am

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