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ABC’s long-running Grey’s Anatomy has kept audiences on edge for nearly two decades thanks to its combination of tense hospital emergencies and gripping interpersonal drama. With its expansive cast of characters to keep things interesting, it just never gets old no matter how much you watch.

Grey's Anatomy cast wheeling out a patient and cheering
Grey’s Anatomy | Richard Cartwright/Getty Images

Despite consistently high ratings and tons of praise, fans of the show tend to say they’d rather look elsewhere for medical help. What makes people so squeamish about the idea of the doctors in the show working with them?

Drama at the expense of patients

Putting aside the obvious skill many of the characters have at their jobs, one of the main reasons you might want to reconsider that surgery is the sheer amount of petty drama that goes on within the walls of Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital.

One of the central conceits of the show is taking a hard-hitting if dramatized look at the lives of professionals in the medical field, this attitude frequently resulting in tangled love lives and angry outbursts.

It’s something many fans on Reddit have come to notice after so many seasons. Not even fan-favorite Cristina has escaped criticism at times. It’s like being back in high school, but with more sharp objects.

Imagine you’ve been put under and are currently on the operating table, but your surgeon can’t just do the job because she’s fighting with an assistant because they both slept with the same guy. In real life, one would hope your doctors could put aside these differences and do the job, but people quietly conducting an operation doesn’t normally make for good TV. As a result, you have people bursting in during surgeries to yell at each other, meaning you’re one accidental cut away from never waking up again.

Medical malpractice is shockingly common

If the character’s conduct wasn’t enough of a risk, there’s also the fact that the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy are frequently committing malpractice, both acknowledge as such and not acknowledged at all by the show.

While not every series can strive for the same level of realism when depicting a profession as Better Call Saul, an unnerving amount of Grey’s drama revolves around doctors not behaving as you’d expect from a professional.

As a result, there are numerous episodes in which something bad happens as a result of poor medical ethics or breaking the law. From falling in love with patients to leaving things inside them, there’s a ton of examples to pull from. One of the most egregious moments would be when Ben defies all logic and medical ethics to perform a c-section in the hallway.

Not only is he conducting an operation outside of an operating room, but he also ends up killing both the mother and child. In real life, he’d be dismissed from the hospital and lose his medical license, possibly even ending up in jail. In the show, though, he’s allowed to keep working with astoundingly little pushback.

An unearthly number of disasters each season

Beyond the conduct of many of the hospital’s doctors, the Grey’s universe itself is simply one of the most tumultuous places you could exist. If the hospital isn’t in danger of collapse from an earthquake or a fire isn’t raging through the halls, you could be lucky enough to walk in for a checkup when an armed gunman pulls up demanding surgery. Seattle might as well be a war zone with how it’s depicted in the show.


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Like other complaints of this nature, the answer comes back to creating good drama for TV. Still, that doesn’t paint a very optimistic picture for the extras unlucky enough to find themselves in need of medical care. Some sort of disaster is lurking around the corner no matter where you go, and things might be even worse at the hospital. You just can’t win.