32 Of Grey’s Anatomy’s Wildest Medical Cases

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    Grey’s Anatomy has graced us with more than two decades of behind-the-scenes hospital drama, with its best episodes carrying viewers through huge natural disasters, shocking deaths, and steamy doctor romances. But one of the most interesting aspects of the long-running ABC series is the bizarre medical cases that the surgeons face. Below are 32 of the wildest medical cases and groundbreaking procedures we’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy.
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    Live Bomb In Patient’s Chest (Season 2, Episodes 16, 17)
    Meredith Grey finds herself in the most delicate of situations in the two-parter “It’s the End of the World” and “As We Know It,” when a man comes into the hospital with a bomb inside his body, and her hand holding it in place is the only thing keeping it from exploding.
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    Boy Encased In Cement (Season 4, Episodes 16, 17)
    If your friends ever dare you to submerge yourself in wet cement, it’s probably time to find new friends. That’s what Andrew discovered in “Freedom: Parts 1 and 2,” when he entrusted the surgeons with breaking him out of a huge block of cement.
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    Patient Diagnosed With Auto-Brewery Syndrome (Season 15, Episode 3)
    Richard Webber thought alcoholism was to blame when shop teacher Dave Buckley passed out in class, injuring himself and a couple of students with a saw. However, the surgeon soon discovered that Buckley’s outrageous BAC level was due to Auto-Brewery Syndrome, in which his GI tract fermented any sugar he ate and turned it into alcohol.
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    Girl Can Hear All Of Her Internal Organs (Season 6, Episode 22)
    In the episode “Shiny Happy People,” Demi Lovato guest starred as Hayley, who was thought to be schizophrenic. Alex Karev, however, thought there was something else going on, and he was able to diagnose her as having a small hole in her inner ear that not only amplified all outside noise but allowed her to hear everything that was going on inside her body.
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    Man With Nails In His Head (Season 1, Episode 4)
    Jorge Cruz came into the hospital in “No Man’s Land” with seven nails inside his skull, after he fell down the stairs while holding a nail gun. Ouch!
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    The Face Transplant (Season 5, Episode 18)
    Where are Nicholas Cage and John Travolta when you need them? Season 5’s “Stand By Me” saw David Young coming in for a face transplant, 12 years and nine surgeries after a drunk driver had left half of his face without form or function. That Mark Sloan can do anything!
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    Santa Who Couldn’t Stop Vomiting (Season 9, Episode 6)
    An unhoused Santa Claus was a repeat visitor to the clinic for vomiting in “Second Opinion,” but as nothing seemed wrong with him, they thought he was just looking for drugs. Jo Wilson and Alex Karev figured out his migraines and other symptoms were actually cyclic vomiting syndrome. This case was based on Grey’s Anatomy actress Chandra Wilson’s own experience with her daughter, who was diagnosed with the syndrome as a teenager, per People.
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    The 70-Pound Tumor (Season 1, Episode 6)
    In “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” Annie Connors was so afraid of hospitals that she allowed a tumor to grow to 70 pounds before seeking medical treatment, which she was forced to do when it became difficult to breathe.
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    Richard Is Poisoned By His Hip Replacement (Season 16, Episodes 19-21)
    Richard Webber’s medical issues took a very public turn when he began talking nonsense during a presentation at a surgical conference in “Love of My Life,” with Andrew DeLuca finally coming up with the answer to what was ailing the veteran surgeon two episodes later in “Put on a Happy Face.” It wasn’t Alzheimer’s but rather cobalt poisoning from a leaky hip replacement.
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    The Girl With Excessive Blushing (Season 2, Episode 3)
    Blushing may not seem like the most serious medical condition, but tell that to the young Kelly Roesch, who couldn’t even say, “Dr. Shepherd” without turning beet red in “Make Me Lose Control.” Don’t worry, Kelly, we get it!
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    Toxic Blood Downs Several Surgeons (Season 3, Episode 14)
    One of the most haunting visuals ever on Grey’s Anatomy came in Season 3’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” which showed an entire operating room of surgeons passed out on the floor. It turns out an herbal supplement combined with Marina Rose Wagner’s chemo chemicals had created a neurotoxin, poisoning anyone who came in contact with her blood.
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    Guy With A Tree In His Lungs (Season 7, Episode 21)
    You know that fear that you’ll swallow or inhale a seed, and something will start to grow in your body? Thanks to Cristina Yang’s finding a tree growing in Raul Aranda’s lung in “I Will Survive,” that fear will never go away.
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    Baby Born With Brain Outside Of His Body (Season 9, Episodes 22-23)
    Baby Tyler’s Grey’s Anatomy journey started in “Do You Believe in Magic,” as the medical professionals thought part of his brain had grown outside of his body. The growth turned out to be full of fluid, and by the time the doctors were finished, Tyler would be left with just a simple scar on his reconstructed forehead.
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    The Man With One Leg In The Middle (Season 12, Episode 13)
    Callie Torres took a unique approach with one of Owen Hunt’s patients who had aggressive pelvic cancer in “All Eyez on Me.” Rather than buy him a few years through chemo and radiation, she removed the cancerous leg and reattached the other in the center, giving him the potential for a longer life and even possibly the ability to walk.
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    Cristina Takes An Icicle To The Stomach (Season 5, Episodes 1-2)
    At the end of “Dream a Little Dream of Me: Part 1,” Cristina Yang slipped on the ice and ended up on her back, just as a huge icicle fell from the roof of the hospital. It wasn’t as simple as just pulling it out in Part 2 of the episode, either, as Owen Hunt (in Kevin McKidd’s debut) insisted they needed X-rays and a CT first.
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    Girl Who Couldn’t Feel Pain (Season 3, Episode 3)
    A young Abigail Breslin guest-starred on Season 3’s “Sometimes a Fantasy” as Megan, who had an insensitivity to pain. Believing she had superpowers, she had allowed a boy to hit her in the stomach, which caused severe internal injuries.
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    Addison Performs A Uterine Transplant (Season 18, Episode 3)
    After a decade away, Kate Walsh returned to Grey’s Anatomy in Season 18 with her character Addison Montgomery aiming to perform a historic uterine transplant. Addison’s short-term goal was to allow a young widow to become a mom with her late husband’s frozen specimen, and then, ultimately, to change fertility all over the world.
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    Operating On A Deer (Season 4, Episode 1)
    In “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Izzie Stevens followed a panicked young boy to the parking lot, thinking there was an injured person outside. However, it turned out to be a deer that had been hit by a car. She agreed to help it, setting up an IV and ultimately defibrillating it to save its life.
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    Man Who Swallowed Doll Heads (Season 2, Episode 2)
    The surgeons thought a man who came in with a bowel obstruction had swallowed bags of drugs in “Enough Is Enough (No More Tears).” However, Alex Karev realized that the items in the X-ray had faces. Miranda Bailey identified them as Judy doll heads — 10 of them, to be exact.
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    Bailey Injects Patient With Deactivated HIV (Season 10, Episodes 18-23)
    Braden Morris (Armani Jackson), a patient with SCID, had a six-episode arc in Grey’s Anatomy’s 10th season, when his enzyme injections stopped working, leaving him susceptible to infection after surgery. After spending weeks isolated in a plastic bubble, Miranda Bailey came up with the brilliant idea to use deactivated HIV to deliver the enzyme. Too bad she didn’t get the parents’ consent first …
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    In-Utero Brain Surgery (Season 20, Episode 4)
    Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) returned to Grey Sloan Memorial for a first-of-its-kind surgery, in which she performed brain surgery on a baby with a blood vessel abnormality before it was delivered. While unquestionably risky, the baby’s chances of survival without the surgery were small. In the end, Arizona was able to successfully insert the metal coils into the baby’s brain, saving its life.
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    The Pregnant Man (Season 2, Episode 7)
    Shane Herman went to the hospital in “Something to Talk About” with a growing belly that made him appear pregnant. A pregnancy test also came out positive, puzzling the surgeons. It was learned that he was not, in fact, with child, but he did have a large tumor that they removed surgically.
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    The doctors had no explanation in “Kung Fu Fighting” for why Rick Jacobs (David Denman) had no injuries after his parachute failed to open while skydiving, causing him to plummet 12,000 feet into a shrub. But that’s got to be one of the wildest things that the hospital has seen.
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    Trick-Or-Treating For A Boy’s Ears (Season 4, Episode 5)
    “Haunt You Every Day” featured a young Dylan Minnette as Ryan, who was born without external ears. Meredith Grey took him around the hospital “trick-or-treating” for things he needed in order to get a procedure done pro bono, including surgical assistants and an open OR so that Mark Sloan could work his magic.
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    Jo Uses A Pen To Detect Cancer (Season 14, Episode 12)
    When Jo Wilson had to tag in for Miranda Bailey on a big stomach surgery in “Judgment Day,” she realized she could use the Path Pen developed by Richard Webber to see which parts of the patient’s stomach were cancer-free. This allowed her to only remove half of what Bailey had planned to, giving the patient a better quality of life.
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    The Man Whose Twin Was Still In His Body (Season 10, Episode 16)
    In “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” Greg Penderglas discovered that the abdominal pain he’d been suffering from off and on for a decade was caused by a mass in his stomach that turned out to be a twin that he’d absorbed in the womb.
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    Full Abdominal Wall Transplant (Season 14, Episode 2)
    Grey’s Anatomy has seen a lot of out-of-the-box ideas, but Meredith Grey’s plan to save Megan Hunt in “Get Off on the Pain” was one of the more extreme. When Meredith was unable to close Megan’s stomach wound because of a lack of skin, she suggested replacing the entire abdominal wall.
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    Callie 3D Prints A Ribcage (Season 12, Episode 10)
    When 15-year-old Maya Roberts enters the hospital with cancer in “All I Want Is You,” Alex Karev is all about the safest course of treatment, while Callie Torres and Maggie Pierce have a much more innovative idea. Maya opts for the latter and becomes the recipient of Callie’s 3D-printed ribcage and a better quality of life.
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    Prisoner Swallows Razor Blades To Get Out Of Prison (Season 2, Episode 11)
    In “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” Rosanna Arquette played Constance, a prisoner so desperate to get out of jail that she swallowed several razor blades in order to go to the hospital. After surgery to remove them, she tried to swallow a lightbulb, choking and requiring another procedure. Cristina Yang told her they’d keep her for two weeks for observation.
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    Surgeons Perform Six ‘Domino’ Kidney Transplants (Season 5, Episode 5)
    Miranda Bailey enacted a super ambitious domino surgery in “There’s No ‘I’ in Team,” with the entire residency class assisting in six simultaneous kidney transplants.
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    Meredith Supervises Her Own Surgery (Season 9, Episode 24)
    Meredith Grey almost died several times over the years, including in “Perfect Storm,” in which she ruptured her spleen when she fell down some stairs. This was only discovered, however, when Shane Ross was closing her up after she had an emergency C-section, and since he was alone, Meredith had to talk him through how to fix her spleen while trying not to lose consciousness.
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    Strangers Are Impaled Together On A Pole (Season 2, Episode 6)
    In the classic Season 2 episode “Into You Like a Train,” a train crash brings several patients into the hospital, including two strangers who were impaled by a pole and stuck against each other. It was one of the most memorable and touching medical cases in the whole series.
    As you can see from the cases above, there was rarely a dull workday for the Grey’s Anatomy surgeons, and that’s one reason the show continues to be regarded as one of the best medical TV series of all time.

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