It’s no secret
Grey’s Anatomy isn’t always the most accurate representation of what it’s like to be a surgeon. Yes, it’s always a beautiful day to save lives, but most hospitals aren’t full of doctors who look like movie stars and find time to hook up with each other in between surgeries. But that’s part of the show’s charm, and that suspension of reality also extends to some truly strange medical incidents. It may be hard to select the most bizarre cases in Grey’s Anatomy history after almost two decades of freak accidents and special circumstances, but luckily, I’m down for the challenge.
Perhaps the wildest thing about all the weird
Grey’s cases is that they’re often based in real-world science. To be fair, the average hospital doesn’t have to deal with a kid encased in cement or a bomb in someone’s chest cavity or a woman with toxic blood on a daily basis. But there’s a sense of reality in how the characters explain these cases that will no doubt leave hardcore fans feeling ready to scrub in at times.
So, while fans begin the excruciating wait for
the next season, why not go through a list of some of the most out-there Grey’s cases ever seen on the show? Here they are, from the heartbreaking to the downright disgusting: 01 The man with nails in his head (Season 1, Episode 4)
One of the weirdest cases occured only four episodes into
Grey’s Anatomy. Alex (Justin Chambers) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) were called in to assist Derek (Patrick Dempsey) with treating Jorge Cruz (F.J. Rio), a guy who fell down the stairs while holding a nail gun and ended up with sixteen nails embedded in his head. Although operating on him was risky, Jorge’s wife Zona (Valerie Cruz) ultimately decided surgery was worth a shot at more time with her husband. 02 The woman with a 70-pound tumor (Season 1, Episode 6)
Season 1 featured another undeniably strange case, in which a woman named Annie (Alex Alexander) had a tumor roughly the size of a human child. She hesitated to seek treatment because she was afraid of hospitals, leaving the doctors no choice but to attempt to remove it in a 14-hour surgery. Unfortunately, Annie didn’t make it out of the procedure alive.
03 The guy who swallowed 10 doll heads (Season 2, Episode 2)
Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and audiences were taken aback when a patient’s (Scott Michael Campbell) X-ray showed ten little faces. It turned out, he had swallowed a bunch of Judy doll heads in order to stop feeling “empty inside.” There was no mental health explanation for why he did this, but swallowing dolls
did obstruct his bowel movements. 04 The people who were impaled on the same pole (Season 2, Episode 6)
This case was as weird as it was tear-jerking. In Season 2, Episode 6, the doctors were tasked with caring for victims of a terrible train accident. This included strangers Bonnie (Monica Keena) and Tom (Bruce A. Young), who were impaled on the same metal pole. After everyone realized they had to move one person off the pole to save the other, the more severely injured Bonnie sacrificed herself for her new friend.
05 The guy with a bomb inside his body (Season 2, Episode 17)
Who could forget the infamous Code Black episode? In one of the show’s strangest cases, a patient (John Bishop) was brought in with a live bomb stuck in his chest cavity. To make matters even more tense, Meredith had to stick her hand over it to stop the guy from bleeding out. Somehow, they both survived.
06 The woman who had spontaneous orgasms (Season 2, Episode 18)
Multiple orgasms are usually great, but as this
Grey’s episode reminded viewers, you can have too much of a good thing. The doctors wound up treating a young college student named Pamela (Arlene Tur), who suffered from spontaneous orgasms that made her get into a car accident. Luckily, the interns were able to patch her up and somehow use this case as a metaphor for their personal drama. 07 The girl who couldn’t feel pain (Season 3, Episode 3)
Before Abigail Breslin was on
Scream Queens, she appeared as a memorable patient in Grey’s Anatomy Season 3. Alex was worried Breslin’s character Megan was being abused, because she showed up to the hospital covered in bruises. But it turned out she had a genetic condition called CIPA (congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis), which the doctors were able to fix with surgery. 08 The exes who got stuck together (Season 3, Episode 5)
In this episode, the surgeons heard a woman (Faith Prince) was being admitted with a “foreign body” stuck inside her. It turned out the “foreign body” was her ex-husband (Arye Gross), and when they decided to hook up earlier that day, his piercing got caught on her IUD. To make matters worse, he had a heart attack, and their daughter walked in on them in an… um… intimate position. Talk about an awkward case.
09 The woman with toxic blood (Season 3, Episode 14)
What if a person was
literally toxic? The Grey’s doctors came face-to-face with this reality when they began caring for Marina (Amanda Collins), a patient whose blood was full of neurotoxins created by a controversial cancer treatment drug. In one of the most striking moments in the show’s history, several characters passed out in the operating room after exposure to her blood. Yet somehow she made it through. 10 The man with a fish in his penis (Season 3, Episode 21)
Hospital chairman Larry (Mitch Pileggi) was admitted to Seattle Grace with swollen testicles after a fish called a Candiru swam into his penis while he peed in the Amazon River. Believe it or not, this rare fish is rumored to be able to jump into people’s urethras. However, this wild occurrence has
never been medically proven. 11 The man who sawed off his own foot (Season 4, Episode 5)
Talk about a memorable Halloween episode. In Season 4, a man called Mr. Miller (Rocky Carroll) showed up to Seattle Grace begging the doctors to amputate his foot, which he claimed
wasn’t actually his foot. When they refused and ordered a psych evaluation, he took matters into his own hands by seizing a surgeon’s saw and cutting off the foot himself. 12 The boy who was stuck in cement (Season 4, Episode 17)
Do not take truth or dare lightly, folks. This infamous Season 4 case introduced Andrew (James Immekus), a teenager who became encased in a vat of cement after his friends dared him to jump in wet cement. The cement began burning him and poisoning his organs, but he was saved after Cristina performed a risky heart surgery on him.
13 The girl who could hear her internal organs (Season 6, Episode 22)
Grey’s Anatomy’s more famous guest stars over the years was Demi Lovato, who played a girl who tried to claw her eyes out. Although the doctors initially suspected she had paranoid schizophrenia, it turned out she had a hole in her inner ear that allowed her to hear everything inside her body (aka superior canal dehiscence syndrome). Luckily, Alex was able to repair the hole and send her home good as new. 14 The man with “tree hands” (Season 7, Episode 3)
OK, this patient didn’t
technically have trees for hands, but it sure looked like it. In this episode, Bailey tended to Jerry (Art Chudabala), a guy with warts covering his face and hands, making them look like tree bark claws. It turned out to be a form of HPV, and as the doctors performed surgery to remove the warts, a spider crawled out of him. Yikes. 15 The guy with the tree in his lung (Season 7, Episode 21)
Season 7 patient Raul (Wilmer Calderon) was admitted to the ER for coughing up blood, leading Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Cristina to conduct a bronchoscopy to check for cancer. But it turned out Raul actually had a little fir tree growing in his lung. Don’t swallow seeds, kids.
16 The baby born with his brain outside his body (Season 9, Episode 22)
Poor little Tyler entered the world with part of his brain on the outside of his skull. Jackson (Jesse Williams) and visiting doctor Lauren (Hilarie Burton) miraculously managed to get his brain right back where it belonged, thanks to a fancy bone mapping program. And yet somehow, this remarkable achievement isn’t the most memorable part of this episode, which is largely devoted to the Seattle Grace doctors’ personal problems.
17 The baby whose bones broke before birth (Season 11, Episode 11)
A baby’s death is always tragic, but this case was even more upsetting because it was so personal. Jackson and April (Sarah Drew) were forced to induce labor at 24 weeks after finding out their son Samuel’s bones were breaking in the womb due to a rare condition called type II osteogenesis imperfecta. In arguably
one of the most upsetting scenes in , the couple briefly got to hold him before saying goodbye. Grey’s history
It turns out,
Drew pitched this storyline to the Grey’s writers because a family friend’s baby actually passed away from this condition. Grey’s Anatomy will be back with more bizarre medical cases with Season 18.