I can usually ride along with the sillier aspects of GREY’S ANATOMY, much the same way I willingly suspend my disbelief and accept CSI techs getting DNA results back in 20 minutes, questioning witnesses, carrying guns, and driving chrome-plated Hummers. But the season finale of GREY was just too much.
An article in today’s LA Times analyzes the more outrageous aspects of the story. Izzie, one of the regular characters, falls in love with Denny, a potential heart-transplant patient, and goes to outrageous lengths to make sure he receives a donor heart:
Izzie then deliberately cuts the pump lines of Denny’s heart’s left
ventricular-assisting device. Emergency cases get priority, and his
deteriorating condition will move him up the transplant list. But Izzie’s disconnection of Denny’s assistance device (which initially
caused the heart to stop) ultimately leads to his kidney failure. The other surgical interns learn what is happening, but they don’t report Izzie’s behavior to the supervising resident.
the truth comes out, the chief of surgery acknowledges that the
hospital’s accreditation may be in jeopardy, but he takes no action and
Izzie quits on her own. Because of his worsening heart failure, Denny receives the heart that was intended for the other recipient, but dies afterward.
All of this strained believability to the breaking point. Nobody was behaving in a realistic way in a realistic world…yet we aren’t being asked to believe it’s a fantasy world…we’re supposed to accept that it’s real. In other words, this isn’t James Bond, Harry Potter, or the X-Men, where you know going in the rules of the real world simply don’t apply. The doctors in GREY are supposed to be real interns in a real hospital in the real world. But you’d never know watching the finale:
A prospective heart transplant patient would never sign a Do Not
Resuscitate order — surgeons would not operate on such a patient
because resuscitation may be necessary at any point. Second, if a heart assistance pump were disconnected, a loud alarm would sound. Third,
interns could never monitor a sick heart patient for such a prolonged
period of time without intervention by at least a nurse, if not a more
senior physician. In the show, the interns watch Denny’s heart stop,
resuscitate him, give him emergency medication — all without
observation or intervention. In real life, such a stunt would be cause
for Izzie’s immediate arrest for attempted murder; the other interns
would likely be kicked out of the residency program.
The upshot, according to common sense and the LA Times:
In fact, the only truly believable scene is the correct use of
phenobarbital to put Dr. Meredith Grey’s dog to sleep because of
incurable bone cancer.