Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy is now on its fifteenth season. Once it finishes, the show will officially tie with ER as the longest-running medical drama in television history. There is no doubt that Grey's Anatomy has earned its place in the record books as a ground-breaking drama, as it has retained its popularity throughout its run. With memorable storylines like the relationship between Izzie and Denny, the plane crash, and the hospital merger, the show has cemented its own legacy as a great primetime drama.
Longtime fans of the show have been around for some incredible moments - and they all likely still cry when they hear the song "How To Save A Life". Grey's Anatomy has provided the world with exhilarating and heart-pounding moments that will not soon be forgotten. However, with the creation of such a complicated medical show comes various challenges that other shows do not have to face. Remaining medically sound and up-to-date is difficult, and unfortunately sometimes things slip past producers.
While Grey's Anatomy is still one of the best medical dramas in history, there have been many instances of inconsistencies and mistakes that cannot be overlooked. Whether it is something simple like a slip-of-the-tongue or big like ignoring basic medical processes, the show has had its share of mistakes. While enthralled in an episode of a show, perhaps some of these can be overlooked. Other mistakes, however, are so blatant that it is impossible to look away.
Here are 20 Mistakes Fans Completely Missed In Grey’s Anatomy.
20 Psoriasis vs Cirrhosis
You'd think that doctors would have a good grasp on all medical terms, but Grey's Anatomy has proved that is not always the case.
In a season 10 episode, Dr. Arizona Robbins presents a case for a child with psoriasis. For those watching Grey's without a medical background, this would be taken at face value. However, psoriasis is a scalp condition.
In this episode, the child is experiencing stomach pains caused by liver failure.
It appears that the word Arizona was looking for was "Cirrhosis."
When a show presents its medical knowledge so seriously, it is hard to believe that such a simple mistake would get by producers. However, unless this patient has a scalp condition that viewers did not see, this was a clear blunder.
19 MRI For A Metal Fork In The Neck
While a mistake in terminology is understandable, ignoring basic science is not acceptable.
When a woman arrives with a fork embedded in her neck at Seattle Grace, there are a couple different reactions from the doctors. Some immediately want to pull it out, and others want to operate around it. However, Dr. Derek Shepherd takes a much more logistical approach by scheduling an MRI. While this is usually a good place to begin, there is one big error in judgment with his treatment plan.
An MRI is a very powerful magnet, which would surely disturb the metal fork protruding from the patient's neck. That's not exactly the best place to begin in this scenario. One of the most renowned neural surgeons in the country should have thought of this before suggesting it.
18 Denny's TOD
The saga of Denny Duqette's time at Seattle Grace is certainly tragic. Every viewer was rooting for him to survive his failing heart throughout season two, yet his end looked imminent. Ultimately, despite all of the interns trying to keep him alive, he eventually succumbs to a blood clot.
While every viewer was drying their tears while listening to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", the group at Seattle Grace Hospital was getting their times mixed up.
When Dr. Bailey is given the task of informing Chief Webber about Denny's passing, she mentioned that he perished at "7:42 that evening." While fans would normally take Bailey's word at face value, it is completely undone when a glimpse of Webber's watch shows that it is only 6:30pm. It's a very small detail, but one that took many people out of the intense moment.
17 Bailey’s Magic Water-Breaking
Sometimes Grey's Anatomy's ignorance of basic human physiology is very upsetting.
During network dramas, when someone begins to go into labor, there is often a very comical sound of water and a very large puddle. However, Grey's is a much more mature show, and aims to present Dr. Bailey's pregnancy in a much more mature way. When Bailey goes into labor, she reacts very calmly when her water breaks, despite there being a very audible rush of fluid. She is then rushed away to begin giving birth.
One very important aspect that producers forgot to account for is that Bailey is wearing jeans during this time.
Considering that her water broke, wouldn't her jeans be very wet?
Unfortunately, her jeans are completely dry when she is taken away.
16 Rules Of Scrubbing In
In order to ensure the most sanitary environment possible prior to beginning surgery, the surgeons "scrub in" before they enter the operating room. Scrubbing in refers to the meticulous cleaning of an operator's hands, nails, and forearms in order to avoid infections. In order to fully ensure everything is safe, doctors are to avoid touching anything until they have put their gloves on.
It seems that Dr. Jackson Avery missed this memo. After scrubbing in prior to a surgery in season twelve, Jackson promptly crosses his arms and puts his hands on his forearms. This is a direct medical no-no, as his hands would now be contaminated. In a split-second moment, Jackson seems to realize his error after looking at his fellow doctors, and quickly uncrosses them.
Perhaps Richard Webber should check in on how his doctors follow protocol.
15 Derek's CPR Technique Is Wrong
Perhaps Derek's error could be chalked up to his emotional state, but isn't he supposed to be a renowned doctor?
Meredith has one foot in the grave in season two after she falls into water during a rescue. After pulling her from the icy waters of Seattle, Derek begins administering non-stop CPR to resuscitate her. However, in his haste it seems that he has forgotten how to properly save a life.
According to proper medical techniques, Derek should be administering thirty chest compressions for every two rescue breaths. Instead, Derek is giving five chest compressions for every one breath.
Derek is giving nearly three times the number of breaths that he should!
While this was certainly a very trying experience for him surely he should have remembered some of his Columbia education.
14 Iceland's Sunset
While not exactly a medical mistake, this is still an error which should have been caught prior to production.
The doctors often connect with patients on a personal level in order to make them more comfortable during their time at the hospital. In one such case, a woman was listing her dream of going to Iceland in order to see a place which experienced "Midnight Sun." The natural phenomenon where the sun remains visible during night hours occurs in areas north of the Polar Circle is surely a beautiful sight.
Unfortunately, this woman's plans seem to be misguided. Iceland is not a location which experiences Midnight Sun due to it being located south of the Polar Circle. If she had wanted to experience this, she should have planned a trip to Alaska or Norway. Hopefully she was not too disappointed upon leaving Seattle Grace!
13 Surgeons Wearing Jewelry In Surgery
As described above with scrubbing in, doctors follow simple protocols to ensure that the operating environment is safe and sterile.
When dealing with the human body, there is no such thing as being too careful.
It seems that the health and safety protocols at Seattle Grace are too easy-going, as it is easy to spot an infraction. During far too many cases on Grey's Anatomy, a doctor is shown wearing jewelry while in surgery. Wearing jewelry such as earrings would be prohibited in surgery, yet characters such as Cristina and Bailey are shown with them after scrubbing in.
Thankfully Grey's Anatomy is not taught during medical school, as there are too many basic errors made in the operating room.
12 Derek Forgets The Last Time He Kissed Meredith
Despite all of the issues they experienced, Derek and Meredith are still considered one of television's greatest romances. However, they were not without their breakups as well.
During their most intense break-up following Addison's arrival in Seattle, it seemed as though they would finally be split apart for good. To express how much she missed Derek, Meredith said that she was having trouble remembering the last time they had kissed. Touchingly, Derek recalls a beautiful story about their last kiss.
This would have been a beautiful moment had it not been incorrect.
The moment that Derek describes takes place before he snuck a kiss in after they had broken up.
Sorry Derek, but it was a nice try.
11 Meredith's Forgotten Liver Transplant
The function of the liver inside the body is to filter chemicals from the bloodstream before it comes in to contact with the body. This means that when alcohol is consumed, the liver breaks it down before anything harmful occurs. This effectively means that if someone did not have a liver, they could not consume alcohol. Unless that person is Dr. Meredith Grey, of course!
Well-known for her tequila parties, Meredith enjoys drinking when she is stressed.
However, following a successful liver transplant to her father in season six, she should not be able to consume alcohol anymore without getting very ill. Yet, she continues to drink often despite this obvious limitation. As a medical professional, Meredith should know her own limits, but it does not seem to affect her at all.
10 Maggie Pierce's Age
Dr. Maggie Pierce's arrival to Seattle Grace in season ten signified a second illegitimate sister for Meredith. While her arrival was an exciting addition to the Grey's Anatomy cast, there were plenty of questions about her.
Maggie's resume is very impressive, and it lands her the role of Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Seattle Grace. Unfortunately, some of the math about her accomplishments do not make sense. Maggie is younger than Meredith by at least five years, yet they both become Department Heads at the exact same time. Knowing that Meredith did not take any time off after graduating from Dartmouth, this does not seem to work out.
Perhaps the showrunners do not think fans are going to complete math about their show, but it seems they need to put a little more effort in to the characters' backstories.
9 Every Intern Would Be Fired For The LVAD Wire Incident
Grey's Anatomy not only seems to ignore medical logic at times, but also criminal liability.
Following Izzie's attempt to garner Denny a donor heart, she realizes she needs to make him appear sicker than he is. She cuts his LVAD wire, which is connected to a device that is keeping his failing heart pumping. Upon realizing what Izzie has done, each of the other interns try to assist her in keeping Denny alive. While this is very noble, it is important to note that each of these interns participating in this (and the subsequent cover-up) would have been fired instantly.
Despite the show providing them with an opportunity to confess, a medical tribunal would have just fired each one of them.
Furthermore, following Izzie's confession to the incident, she would never have been allowed to practice medicine again.
8 Meredith Would Never Win The Harper Avery Award
Even though it is a fictitious award, the Harper Avery Award is what every doctor on Grey's Anatomy strives to achieve. Several characters on the show have won one before, including Ellis Grey, Preston Burke and most recently Meredith Grey. However, if viewers were to look a little bit closer, they would see something wrong about the entire system.
In season seven, Derek and Meredith conducted a clinical trial on Alzheimer's Disease patients. While they are hoping for this to be a calling card for them as medical professionals, Meredith ruins the validity of the trial by rigging the results. She may have done this to potentially save a patient, but the damage would still have been done to her medical career.
Considering that Meredith has this black mark on her record, it would be highly unlikely that she would be considered for this award.
7 Alex Never Pays Izzie's Debt
One of the craziest stories to come out of Grey's Anatomy came out of the real-life drama between the show-runners and Katherine Heigl. Ultimately, this resulted in her exit from the show in season five. With Izzie Stevens leaving the show, there were numerous plot points left unaddressed. Mainly that Alex was allegedly left with mountains of her debt to pay off. This was a big point of contention for Alex, as he did not have the means to pay it off.
Well, it was a point of contention for at least a few episodes.
Despite Alex claiming that he would never recover from the financial ruin that it left him in, it was ultimately never discussed again.
While he would be making more money as a resident at Seattle Grace, it is strange that he could pay it off so quickly.
6 Doctors Would Lose Their License After Surgery Errors
Despite Seattle Grace initially holding a very high ranking as a surgical and teaching hospital, there are numerous recorded errors made by their surgeons.
On at least three occasions, there have been foreign objects left inside of a patient during surgery. Whether this was a towel left inside by Preston Burke during his early years as an intern, or a mistake by Callie Torres, this is an unacceptable practice. Furthermore, the thought that these doctors would retain their medical licenses following blunders like this is unacceptable.
Despite how renowned of a "Cardio-God" Burke is, he would have never practiced medicine again following this error.
5 Burke's Blood Disappears After Being Shot
The lasting effects of Burke's gunshot wound result in tremors in his hand, and he is unable to perform surgery. The good news is that he can moonlight as a superhero now since he apparently does not bleed like normal humans.
When Preston Burke is shot during a scuffle at the end of season two, fans were treated to Burke lying in the street with his blood all over the floor. The picture certainly looks dire, but then something magical happens.
Burke's blood miraculously disappears from one shot to the next, without any doctor intervention.
Given the size of his wound, he is lucky he did not bleed out, let alone have his blood disappear. A continuity error this big surely took fans out of the emotional experience of the scene.
The doctors on Grey's Anatomy are good, but not this good.
4 Christina's Drink Changes Color
Perhaps all of the doctors spend a little too much time at Joe's Tavern, but certainly not enough for their drinks to go bad.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mistake, Cristina Yang's drink randomly changes color-- from a clear beverage to a dark one, and then magically back. Unless Yang was able to drink a gin and tonic very quickly, and then have it magically replaced with a rum and coke, this is a mistake by the producers. Something like this should be caught very simply, but it was missed in this scene.
Continuity errors like this quickly take fans out of scenes, and not even an actor of Sandra Oh's caliber can distract from it.
3 The Lion's Teeth Grow Back
The team at Seattle Grace have seen just about everything-- even a lion attacking people in the middle of Seattle. While seeing a lion would be alarming any day of the week, his arrival at Seattle Grace is tainted by another mistake in continuity.
The lion's victim is shown to have one of the lion's razor-sharp teeth in his arm. While this would normally make for a great souvenir, it seems that the lion took his tooth back.
Despite not having regenerative powers, when the lion is shown in a later scene, he has all of his fangs intact.
Lions are fearsome animals, even with a tooth missing, but this mistake took everyone out of the moment.
2 The Pigeon Is On A Wire
What is it with Grey's Anatomy and making mistakes involving animals?
The arrival of the pigeon in season two's episode "Let It Be" signifies someone trying to end their life. The pigeon is present and distracts George from stepping in the way of someone jumping from a building. Unfortunately, the pigeon did not survive the ordeal. However, fans paying close attention to the animal noticed exactly how the producers made it perform the way they wanted.
When looking closely, it is clear that the pigeon has a wire attached to its foot.
This means that animal trainers and producers could train it to sit and fly on command. Fans of television shows know that animal movement is carefully choreographed, but they do not need to be reminded of it when watching the show.
1 Alex Should Have Been Fired For His Relationship With Ava
One of the most underrated romantic stories on Grey's Anatomy was between Dr. Alex Karev and his patient, Ava. While a very cute story, it is important to remember that this would never have occurred in reality.
Ava was Alex's patient whom he rescued from a ferry crash who experience from memory loss. Through her recovery, Alex stayed by her side and nursed her back to health. When she regained her memory, they fell in love. Fans may have been rooting for Karev to finally find someone, but Ava was not the one for him.
Disregarding the fact that it was unveiled that she was mentally ill, doctors are forbidden from having a relationship with a patient. Considering that Ava was a patient under Karev's care for months, they would not be allowed to fraternize. Furthermore, if Alex were to pursue a relationship he would have been fired.
What are some other mistakes you caught in Grey's Anatomy? Let us know in the comments!