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Considering that it exists to save lives, Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital is a dangerous place to be. Grey’s Anatomy is known for killing off its characters in dramatic and heart-breaking ways

In the middle of it all is Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo. She not only saves other people’s lives, but she’s also dodged death many times herself. As the long-running medical drama begins its 17th season, viewers are watching closely to see if her luck will hold out. 

The long struggle of Meredith Grey

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey
Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey | Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images

When Meredith stepped into the hospital for the first day of her surgical internship, she couldn’t have managed to construct a messier situation if she’d tried.

According to Screen Rant, Meredith’s mom was a famous surgeon who didn’t think her daughter would be very good at her job. This doubled the expectations on her, from people who expected her to live up to her mom’s reputation, and her mom, who was expecting her to fail.

On top of that, she discovered that the man she’d had a one-night stand with the night before was actually her new boss. Fortunately, Meredith overcame the hurdles she faced on that daunting first day, going on to encounter an astonishing number of other hurdles. 

One of the realities in Meredith’s world is that people don’t seem to live very long. You’d expect to experience more than the average number of deaths as a doctor, but Meredith’s losses extend way beyond sick patients. No one around her seems to be safe. 

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Through the years, fans of the show have had to endure losing many characters in shocking and emotional deaths. And these aren’t run-of-the-mill kinds of losses. For instance, according to Insider, at the beginning of Season 6, the beloved character George O’Malley died after he jumped in front of a bus, so he could save a stranger’s life. 

When Mark Sloan died in Season 9, it was especially hard to take because it seemed that he had survived the airplane crash that had ended Season 8 and killed Meredith’s sister Lexie. But the new season opened to find that he was so injured in the crash that his health was deteriorating. After a long struggle, he passed away. 

It’s not uncommon for people on Grey’s Anatomy to die just when you think they’ve beaten the odds. For instance, in Season 2, Denny went through a number of close calls before he finally went through a successful transplant surgery and emerged with a new heart. Just when it seemed that all was well, he died of a stroke. 

And of course, viewers will never forget when Meredith lost Derek, the love of her life. He had stopped to save the lives of two teens in a car crash, and as he drove away from the scene, his car was struck by a semi. 

With so much danger in the air, it’s no wonder Meredith has had more than a few close calls of her own. 

Meredith’s many close calls

Through the years, Meredith has had many near escapes. BuzzFeed explains that once a patient came into the hospital with an explosive round from a bazooka lodged in his body. Meredith steadied the bomb during the operation to save him, then handed it off to the head of the bomb squad. Moments later, it detonated, killing him. 

In Season 3, Meredith was tending to the wounded at a ferry crash. She was accidentally knocked into the water, where her will to stay alive started to falter. When Derek pulled her out of the water, it seemed as though it might be too late. But after a long battle to resuscitate her, she finally took a breath. 

These are just a few of the times she looked death in the eye. She’s managed to walk away from a plane crash, a gunman, operating on a patient with toxic blood, undergoing a C-section during a power outage, and much more. 

As the new season starts, there are rumors that Ellen Pompeo may be thinking about leaving Gray’s Anatomy. If that’s true, viewers know that she needs to be extra careful. Meredith’s luck may be about to run out.