Friday, January 23, 2009

Grey's Anatomy Episode Controversy

I received this e-mail from the local support group and thought I would share it. I am not a watcher or fan of medical dramas because they give me bad dreams. The closest I can get to them is reading the Nurse/Doctor blogs online mostly anonymously. I didn't see the episode that is causing the upset, and can't decide if I will watch it online or not. Anyway, this is the e-mail I received this morning, posted with permission (full names and e-mails have been edited):

Here's the initial email from Tenaya at Donate Life Hollywood about last night's "Grey's Anatomy" episode. Note that she's meeting with ABC writers today and will no doubt return with a suggestion that we all write in to ABC and complain loudly that the show blew a great opportunity to do some good for our cause and instead fed into the fear that if doctors know someone is a potential donor they will not try to save their life. And, that families are "badgered" into agreeing to donation. So untrue, yet it will be believed because it was on this popular medical show. Very sad. Anyway, be sure to read the recap at the end of Tenaya's email and I'll keep you posted as we get further information about who to write.

----- Original Message -----
From: Tenaya

Dear Phil's List and Donate Life Hollywood Supporters,

Tonight's Grey's Anatomy episode "Stairway to Heaven" concluded a storyline that features a child in desperate need of a transplant and a convicted killer who could possibly become brain dead and donate his organs to the child. It is a convoluted storyline summarized at this website: and a brief summary below. As always, you can watch the full episode online .... click on "watch free episodes."

I have not attached a letter to Grey's for several reasons, first among them that I have a meeting with ABC Studios tomorrow. I welcome your feedback on this episode and appreciate your insight and talking points.

Very sincerely,
Donate Life Hollywood

Bailey's little patient (Jefferson? I'm calling him Jefferson from now on) is fading fast after his body rejected that last set of organs. He's now at the top of the waiting list, but there are doubts that he'll last long enough for new organs to become available. Everyone is running around like crazy trying to find a donor and/or a way to prolong Jefferson's life expectancy long enough to find those new donor organs.

Bailey's resolve weakens and she barges into the operating room where Shepherd is operating on McSlashy to ask Derek to let the serial killer die so that Jefferson can have his organs, but Derek eventually talks her out of the idea when he points out that they'd essentially be executing McSlashy.

The Chief finds a man about to be disconnected from life support and tries to convince his wife to donate his organs to Jefferson. The wife initially tells the Chief to get out of the man's room, that she can't take anymore after having to make the decision to let the love of her life die. The Chief leaves, but keeps coming back, pushing her to donate the organs. He later tells Bailey that he crossed a line, but he went way further than crossing a line. He played jump rope with the line and then had a limbo contest.

Eventually, the woman relents and the Chief rushes into Jefferson's room to tell the others just as they have given up and have brought his mom in to say goodbye. They perform the transplant and Jefferson doesn't reject the organs, but Bailey still worries that they waited too long and Jefferson may never wake up or have brain damage.

Of course, the kid eventually does wake up and every one's all happy.


  1. Anonymous10:46 AM

    This is so sad to me on MANY levels. First that there are people that write this sort of crap. Second that it makes it to the TV for ALL to watch. And third and maybe the worst is that the American people actually believe all the crap they see on TV these days. What has happened to us? I hope all of the people involved will do something to right this terrible wrong but I have my doubts.~Peggy~

  2. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I am one of those people that watches this crap on TV. Grey's is one of my favorite shows but it is certainly not a favorite show because of its portrayal of reality - that is for sure! If you've been following along this season than you know that this season, more than any, is WAY out there (unrealistic) with Izzy interacting with her deceased boyfriend. ah geez. Never the less, when I watched last night's episode, I was not offended nor was I led to believe that this is how organ transplants are handled. I was actually pulled in and sentimental because of Aimee's experience and felt that I could kind of relate to the desperation that is felt when a patient is in dire need of an organ to save their life.

    I am sure that we all have our own take on it, as do we all differ on what we take away from any TV show. For me, it is an escape. I don't think that there was any disservice done to organ donation - if anything - just more awareness. My two cents.....

  3. Just to clarify, I am not passing judgement on anyone who watches this show. (I can't, I watch a lot of crappy reality TV) This was brought to me and I found it interesting and relevant and wanted to hear other people's opinion on the subject. I can see how this does raise awareness in some ways to organ donation, but having decided not to watch the episode myself, I can't say if the attention is positive or negative. Fans of the show (and I know there are many, including my Mom) may have taken more away from it, and for that I am glad. I'll be passing along the comments I recieve so that everyone's opinion is able to be read.

    Thanks, either way. I appreciate any and all imput on all my posts!

  4. Hollywood is trying to make everything have a Disney fairy tale ending. I'm not sure why they do it, probably because the truth of the world is far from the Disney Fairy Tale ending... But sadly, there are people who watch this and say, yup that is how it is or there are the people who have lived it and experienced it that knows there is no way this is real. I think these shows are to help one escape reality - take me and 24... some of it is from real life facts but they expand on it so much that you sit there thinking yeah, right... that isn't going to happen. I have never been a fan of this show... or ER... so I won't be watching this to see what this is all about but I know how to separate hollywood from reality. The problem is there are people out there who don't and now, if they watched this episode, they may have an unrealistic hope of reality...