'Grey's Anatomy' Proves It Pays to Know Someone in Medicine

Jeanne Sager

Sara Ramirez Grey's AnatomyIt's been weeks since the last Grey's Anatomy episode aired, and you'd think the writers got forgetful in the meantime. Sure, last night's episode was written literally months ago, but it seemed to take a lesson learned back in March and turn it on its ear. Forget what they said about doctors needing to take a step back when their family is in need of medical care.

The lesson of "It's a Long Way Back" was clear: whether you're Callie Torres just trying to see your preemie in the NICU despite your own health crisis or Adele Webber in need of Alzheimer's treatment, it pays to know somebody at a hospital.

First up, Callie! She's still alive after the musical episode/life-saving surgery, but Bailey says she's not healthy enough to stand up and walk to the NICU to see little Sofia (yes, the baby has a name!). It prompts the saddest attempt at giving someone the finger yet seen -- her fingers can't actually function that well yet.

So how do the residents respond to this? Well, there's a reason hospital beds have wheels, right? Sneaking past Bailey, they maneuver her bed down the hall to the NICU to get her first honest to goodness look-see at her daughter. It's a beautiful moment. One that may or may not have caused the corners of my eyes to moisten just a tad (hey, I just finished a memoir about a mom who died before she got to see her baby in the NICU -- what do you want from me?). Consider this lesson one: you get special treatment when you know someone in the hospital.

Moving on, we have a patient who's been knocked out of the Alzheimer's trial, and wouldn't you know it? Chief Webber's wife's memory problems are getting worse. WAY worse. But don't fret, Meredith Grey is all over that like a kid on her Easter basket last Sunday morn. She has Adele Webber re-tested for the trial, and she's a lock. Lesson two: You just gotta know somebody.

Except there's that nasty "randomization" that makes a clinical trial work. Essentially, patients are assigned either the placebo or the real meds, and the doctors running the trial have no control over that. That is unless you're Meredith Grey, plagued by guilt that your mother once had an affair with Adele's husband, and willing to sneak into a locked room to switch the assignments. Lesson three: It REALLY pays to know somebody ... but it could lose them their job (so perhaps not the BEST example??).

The fact is, it doesn't hurt to cultivate friends in the medical field. They could make the hard catches -- like noting that Adele's Alzheimer's has progressed at a rapid pace. They could be the one to offer a small kindness like a quick wheel to the NICU to see your baby through the glass. They could be the one sitting with you in an unfamiliar hospital in an emergency explaining in layman's speak what the doctors taking care of your child don't have time to break down. They could be the one who stands up and fights for you because they know how a hospital works, what has to be said to get the best care.

I'm not saying you need to call up your doctor stat and beg her to join you at girls' night, but it's food for thought people. We tend to be a little bit jumpy around folks in the medical profession, lest they judge us on those couple extra pounds or have a tendency to speak in medical-ese at all times (honestly, there are times I have to ask my mom to repeat what she just said in "my English"). But when the going gets rough, they're the people to have around as support!

Do you know someone in the medical field? Have they helped you through a crisis?


Image via ABC

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