It's hard to imagine Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital without Meredith Grey. Not only is she a part-owner of the hospital, and not only is her last name is right there in its title, but also, Meredith basically grew up in the halls of the hospital, back when it was known as Seattle Grace and her mother Ellis was the top surgeon. But, in the Season 16 premiere, Meredith learned the medical board was pursing action to take away her license to practice medicine. So, does Meredith lose her medical license on Grey's Anatomy? Fans don't have an answer yet, and, honestly, I'm worried. Warning: Spoilers for Season 16 Episode 3 of Grey's Anatomy follow.
At the end of Season 15, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) broke the law — but she did so for a very noble reason. A young girl with cancer didn't have insurance to cover her treatment, and so Meredith committed insurance fraud by using her own daughter's name on the forms for the patient's surgery. Even though Meredith was trying to help, it was enough to get her fired from Seattle Grace, sentenced to community service, and in jeopardy of losing her medical license.
Meredith is at the heart and soul of Grey's Anatomy; not only is her name in the hospital's, but it's in the title of the show, too. So the idea of her no longer practicing medicine at all is hard for fans to wrap their minds around. A lot of fans have had some big reactions to the notion of it on Twitter:
Just because Meredith isn't officially a doctor so far in the season, it doesn't mean she's not using her medical expertise. In Episode 3, Meredith assisted on a surgery via video chat, which might not exactly be the most legal thing to be doing when your medical license has been revoked. But, that isn't the only way Meredith is calling attention to herself while she's away from Grey Sloan.
In the second episode of the season, Meredith surreptitiously administered medical care to the other people on her community service team. While doing so, Meredith realized firsthand just how broken the bureaucracy surrounding medicine is. She decided to take what she's learned and write about it to expose how people need better and easier access to insurance and healthcare. It's another noble action, but it's also the exact opposite of the "lying low" she's supposed to be doing while she awaits her hearing to review her medical license. Meredith might be helping people, but she's also diminishing her chances of having an easy hearing to get her license reinstated.
Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff hinted to TV Guide that Meredith has a long road ahead of her. She said, "As the reality of the stakes escalate and become more real for her, for sure, this is not an easy journey for her." She didn't give any additional hints about the fate of Meredith's medical career, but I'm hopeful fans will see her back in the operating room someday soon.
Season 16 of Grey's Anatomy continues on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.