Why "Grey’s Anatomy" is Unrealistic

If I were Meredith Grey, the main character on the hit TV show, Grey’s Anatomy, I would open this article with some dramatic medical discourse that somehow relates to the meaning of life itself. But sadly, I am not, nor ever will be, Meredith Grey. However, when I think over the events of the past thirteen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, I wonder if even Meredith Grey wants to be Meredith Grey. In fact, after the several traumatic events that have occurred at Seattle Grace Hospital and to the doctors who work there, I really am not sure why anyone would want to work there at all.

As someone who has watched the entire series, and is currently watching the whole thing again (because I am not strong enough to resist my addictions), the amount of chaos that occurs in and to the hospital has led me to question why I continue to watch a show that so clearly does not have any realistic backing. Let’s delve into what makes Grey’s Anatomy so unfeasible.


Natural Disasters

As most people know, in Seattle, when it rains, it pours. But at Seattle Grace Hospital, when it rains, everyone dies. Almost every season, there is a major storm in which the power goes out, compromising the medical equipment and making it impossible to perform surgery just as a main character is giving birth, or an ambulance flips over on the slippery roads, fortunately leaving the doctors inside, uncompromised, and able to assist the three car pileup that just happens to be near by. Major storms do tend to lead to power outages and car accidents, but the extreme results that follow and the frequency at which they occur is not comparable to the events of real life.


Shifting Relationships

It is plausible that within a hospital there are doctors who date each other, as doctors have demanding schedules and it makes sense that some couples meet at work. However, on Grey’s Anatomy, every single doctor is dating or married to another doctor at the hospital, and more specifically, a surgeon. There are so many different departments in a hospital, but since the show solely focuses on the surgical wing of Seattle Grace, every surgeon dates another surgeon. Not only that, but also the relationships between the surgeons switch so often that any given doctor probably has a shared sexual history with half of the rest of the surgical wing. In a real hospital, this just doesn’t seem feasible. Also, a side note: the amount of time they spend in the on-call room sleeping with each other should really be used to sleep alone. If you have to cut into someone’s body, you better be well-rested.


Medical Malpractice

Throughout the show, there have been many actions made by the characters that have compromised patients’ lives, and they occasionally aren’t accidental. Obviously, people make mistakes, but when you have someone else’s life in your hands, you should not purposefully put them at risk. For instance, at one point in the show, a doctor purposefully compromises a patient’s health in order to move him up the transplant list, something that is very illegal. And although she was suspended and punished socially by her peers, she was not fired. I like to hope that in a real hospital, if something like this were to happen, that doctor would not be allowed to operate on other patients, even if she had good intentions and a heart of gold.


Tragic Accidents

As we all know, in life, tragic events occur. However, the chances of the doctors of a hospital almost drowning, defusing a bomb, getting hit by a bus, being involved in a shooting, surviving a plane crash, and more in just a few years seems highly unlikely. Yes, Grey’s is a drama, but at some point the amount of trauma that these people have experienced makes one question how they can continue working at this hospital.


Character Deaths

Sometime during the fifth season, Shonda Rhimes, creator of the show, decided to kill off a major character, and then just kept going. Yes, there have been many main characters who have come close to death and then miraculously survived, some more than once, but to have so many major players in the show die seems a bit unnecessary and not at all true to a real hospital experience. In addition, the amount of patients who die at Seattle Grace seems like much too high a number. Yes, doctors cannot save everyone, but there have been so many patient deaths that someone on IMDB started posting episode body counts in the trivia section, and it is abnormally high.


Obviously, many aspects of the show that I have critiqued must be forgiven for the sake of dramatization and suspension of one’s beliefs. Yet, just because Grey’s Anatomy is a TV show, it does not mean that it cannot try to stay true to reality. But also, without the over-dramatic, unrealistic aspects of Grey’s Anatomy, it wouldn’t be the show that I am absolutely obsessed with.


Image credits: Feature, 1, 2