If it were any other show, fans would have been shocked when they watched Thursday’s mid-season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. The Denzel Washington–directed episode showed Meredith Grey barely clinging to life after a patient brutally attacked her. But catastrophe is business as usual on Grey’s, which over the course of its 12 seasons has toed the line between medical drama and torture porn. And while there’s no shortage of unlucky doctors at Seattle Grace — a hospital plagued by shootings, earthquakes, and live bombs embedded in patients’ abdominal cavities — Meredith’s misfortunes are more tragic. Here are all of the miserable things that have happened to her:
She had a bad childhood. Abandoned by her father, and emotionally abandoned by her workaholic mother, things were tough on Mer from the beginning. Particularly when …
Her mother made Meredith watch her suicide attempt. Ellis Grey slit her wrists in front of her young daughter and forbade her from calling 911. (Meredith disobeyed after Ellis passed out, saving her life.)
Her mother later succumbed to Alzheimer’s. Ellis’s decline and eventual death was painful, though it did inspire Meredith to research finding a cure for the disease.
She found out her boyfriend was married … and then watched him choose his estranged wife over her. Even though Meredith and Derek ended up together, there was a long period when McDreamy was McDouchey.
Then the dog she bought to get over Derek got cancer. And died.
She removed a live bomb from a patient’s body and watched it explode in the hands of Kyle Chandler, who played the head of the bomb squad. (He died.)
Meredith briefly died. In a ferry accident. (Although Derek jumped into the water to save his drowning love interest, so maybe the writers counted this as a net-plus for Mer?)
Her good friend George died. Meredith doesn’t realize she is treating one of her best friends, who was severely disfigured in a horrible bus accident, until he wrote his nickname, 007, in her hand.
Her stepmother died. And guess who her father blamed?
She watched Derek get shot. But not die! (Yet.) Meredith offered the mass shooter — who was on a rampage after his wife died in the hospital — her own life in exchange for letting Cristina operate on and save her husband. She didn’t get shot, but …
She miscarried shortly thereafter. Presumably as a result of the stress.
She almost didn’t get to adopt Zola, an orphaned baby who was brought to the hospital for treatment. Thankfully, the writers gave her a break — but only after a lot of tension and a brief separation.
She was in a plane crash. And while Meredith survived …
It killed her half-sister. Whom Meredith had finally started bonding with.
She had to get a C-section during a power outage. Though the delivery-in-the-dark was successful overall, Meredith later realized she was bleeding internally and had to instruct an inexperienced doc on how to stop the bleed.
Cristina Yang moved to Zurich. Things are hard when your “person” lives on a different continent.
Her marriage was on the rocks. After Derek takes a job in Washington, D.C. — at the bequest of the president, obviously — Meredith suspects he is having an affair with his young research assistant. Although they do share a kiss, Derek quickly breaks it off and realizes he no longer wants a bicoastal marriage. He goes back to Meredith, commitment reaffirmed. Unfortunately …
Derek dies. Tragically. After saving the lives of car-crash victims, he became the victim of a car crash himself and is brought to the worst hospital in the world for treatment. Meredith had to decide to pull the plug on her brain-dead husband. (Oh, and she was surprise-pregnant with his child.)
A doctor whose negligence led to Derek’s death came to work at Seattle Grace. Because of course she did.
Meredith was viciously attacked by a patient. Not only did she almost die, but she almost lost her hearing and ability to speak. A typical day for Meredith Grey.