When the 9th season of Grey’s Anatomy ended Seattle Grace Hospital was hit by a massive storm, leaving Dr. Webber (James Pickens Jr.) electrocuted and barely clinging to life in the basement. (He was attempting to fix the generator. It happens!)
Once they finally find his lifeless body they are faced with either letting him die or doing a very risky procedure that might kill him. Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Dr. Yang (Sandra Oh) are at odds over what to do.
“What does his health care directive say about extraordinary measures?” Dr. Hunt (Kevin McKidd) asks the two bickering doctors. They go to a filing room to find Dr. Webber’s paperwork...
Dr. Yang gives it a read and is all “Oh no!” Turns out Dr. Webber named Meredith Grey, of all people, his health care proxy!
Dr. Grey is still recovering from having a baby when she’s handed the Advance Directive. Dr. Hunt tells her she was named Richard’s medical power of attorney. Meredith is confused. (Big shock, right?)
“But he can’t make me next of kin without talking to me first,” Grey says.
“He did,” says Dr. Bailey, who’s 100-percent in favor of the surgery.
“After Adele died he revised his directive,” Dr. Yang chimes in, who thinks they should hold off on the surgery.
There isn’t much time. The procedure can’t wait. Dr. Yang and Bailey are arguing. Dr. Hunt is getting annoyed. It’s on all Meredith to make the call. “Why wouldn’t he tell me,” Grey asks herself aloud.
“I don’t know,” Dr. Yang says in her matter-of-fact tone. “But he didn’t. So it’s on you. So you have to decide.”
We’re gonna stop there because we refuse to spoil the ending. Feel free to take a break and watch them on Hulu.
We’re just thrilled that Grey’s Anatomy devoted this much time in the two-hour season premiere episode to the health care proxy discussion and advance directives. It may have added drama, passion and really attractive people into the mix, but this is real life
People get very passionate and emotional in these situations, especially if the patient can’t speak for him or herself and say what they want (hence Dr. Yang and Bailey going off on each other). That’s why Advance Directives (i.e. Living Wills) are so important. Plus, if you’re smart like Dr. Webber, you’ll choose a person who’ll make the right decisions for you and not themselves.
Kudos to Grey’s for shedding light on an important topic. Be like Dr. Webber and choose someone to speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself. Otherwise it’ll just be a bunch of doctors and family members arguing in your hospital room over a simple decision you should have made for yourself. Here’s how you get started. And here's a picture of Dr. Bailey playing with Meredith's cute baby: