The Worst Medical Mistakes On Grey’s Anatomy

First-Year Resident Is Doing What?!? While Dr. George O’Malley came a long way from his initial point on the show, we cannot ignore that this hospital… Joe Burgett - July 26, 2023
First-Year Resident George O'Malley Doing Appendectomy
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

First-Year Resident Is Doing What?!?

While Dr. George O’Malley came a long way from his initial point on the show, we cannot ignore that this hospital allowed something horrific. During one episode in the first season of the show, Dr. O’Malley was chosen to perform an appendectomy. Keep in mind, he was a first-year resident at the hospital. There are several seasoned surgeons who would be scared to death about performing this surgery. Appendectomies are usually emergency surgeries, due to a bout of appendicitis. The appendix is part of the gastrointestinal system, connected to the large intestine. It is responsible for providing good bacteria to the body.

Appendix Organ - Inflamed
[Image via Ilya Lukichev/]

When you get appendicitis, the organ becomes swollen, sore, and often diseased. By this point, it is usually filled with mucus, stool, and parasites. Removing this organ can be tricky due to where it’s located, and how careful you need to be. Only seasoned surgeons would ever be allowed to do this. While first-year residents are sometimes allowed to assist and observe this type of surgery, they do not perform it themselves. It is simply too risky for hospitals to allow this because things could easily go wrong with someone of this experience level. Again, this is classified as an emergency surgery, which most residents alone wouldn’t do. Much less a first-year resident. They’re usually observing and learning how to take care of patients at this stage.

Grey's Anatomy - Bubble Boy
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

Super Secret Procedures

Season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy was filled with controversial medical moves. In the final episodes of that season, Dr. Miranda Bailey is treating a patient with a terrible immune system disease. It is so bad, he has to live his life in a bubble. Dr. Bailey decides to do an experimental procedure to help him, and it works. He’s able to leave the hospital and get well incredibly fast. There is only one problem though. The person she did this to was a minor and she did not have the consent of his parents to perform it. As a result of this, the parents are outraged that she’d do anything like this without their consent.

Grey's Anatomy - Miranda Preps For Surgery
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

They’re just about to press charges against her and the hospital over it until Resident Stephanie steps in to calm things down. However, we won’t allow Miranda to get away from this as easily as the parents did. In real life, Dr. Bailey would have been fired from the hospital on the spot for this move. To top it off, her medical license would have been likely revoked for good. What is so odd here is that Stephanie was actually suspended for a week while Miranda (WHO PERFORMED THE DANG SURGERY) did not receive any punishment from the hospital over this.

Doctor with Patient
[Image via Richard Cartwright/ABC]

Doctors Literally Doing Everything

Have you ever found it odd that medical shows love to have doctors doing pretty much everything? They’ll give shots/injections, take blood/then test said blood, counsel the patient, etc. You name it, these doctors are all over it. In some cases, you wonder if there is literally any nurse in the hospital to assist them. This is something so many people do not seem to understand. When you go to a hospital, if you’re in the Emergency Room or if you’re needing to stay for any reason, nurses are going to be the ones taking care of you. They will be the ones taking blood and sometimes running tests (depending on the situation). Sometimes there will be a room filled with doctors, even when it’s not necessary.

Patient With Room Full Of Doctors
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

They are also going to be the first people on the spot to give you any medications, injections, and help in times of crisis. Doctors, in these cases, pretty much do nothing compared to your average nurse. There is a reason hospitals have so many nurses while they have only a select number of doctors. On top of this, if a nurse is not running blood tests, they are sending it off to labs where specialists are handling that. While some doctors do perform surgeries, it is not at the rate we see in medical shows. More than that, Grey’s Anatomy is about surgeons and they are treating them like regular doctors most of the time. On top of the fact that they give them cases that have nothing to do with their specialties.

Grey's Anatomy Surgery
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

The Surgical Errors On Grey’s Anatomy Are Insane

On the show, we’re told that the hospital holds a very high rating as one of the top surgical and teaching hospitals. However, if this were a real-life hospital and everyone on the show were real… this hospital might have closed its doors by now. The number of lawsuits and medical licenses being revoked would be too much for them. We already highlighted Callie’s sponge drama. However, they have made many more errors too. For example, Preston Burke left a dang towel inside someone. They have also shown that they can make errors that most medical students wouldn’t make. Much less, would any surgeon make some of the blunders they have.

Surgeons Not Wearing Eye Protection
[Image via the American Broadcasting Company]

We referenced scrub-in issues, but they have also had doctors and often nurses work without gloves on even in times when this sort of thing would make sense. Sure, doctors should not be taking blood or injecting patients, but they’ve often done this without gloves on. Surgeons have even operated on the show without eye protection gear on quite often. Eyewear is not the most fashionable thing, but if blood starts to spurt out, you will be glad you have them on. Even something as simple as not understanding the protected airway for patients under anesthesia is mistaken repeatedly. This would never be a teaching school, if it was, people would die!

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

UK National Health System (NHS)

Johns Hopkins University Hospital

St. George’s University School of Medicine

University of Twente

Association of Surgical Technologists

Children’s Hospital Association

Mayo Clinic

Red Cross

New York Times