Grey’s Anatomy is an amazing show regardless of who you are. The 14th season is set to air soon which is a long time for any show to be running. For those who aren’t doctors or nurses, or who don’t work in the medical field, it’s easy to wonder if anything you see on Grey’s Anatomy is real. Are the scenarios real? Is that really how they have to scrub into surgery? I mean, are the conditions even real life conditions? There are some pretty crazy cases on Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s hard to know what to believe.
If someone is a parent, it’s hard to keep a dry eye when they have the pediatric cases. Seeing a sick baby just brings all sorts of images and thoughts to a parent’s mind. Could this happen to their child? Pregnant women definitely need to watch out — there will be tears. With all the extra hormones going through a pregnant woman’s body, watching a tiny little baby with a horrible condition is not what you want to see. But is there any reason to freak out? Are the conditions on Grey’s Anatomy even real? Well here are some baby conditions that are definitely real and definitely hit too close to home.
15 Baby Lisa Collis
In season 7 of Grey’s Anatomy, there was a baby who was diagnosed with biliary atresia. Biliary atresia is an extremely rare disease in infants that affects the liver and bile ducts. Due to this disease, baby Lisa Collis needed a liver transplant. Although this disease is rare, it’s definitely real — which means it’s just another thing I’ll be worrying about!
Lisa’s parents were very concerned, obviously. They also did a ton of research and insisted that the Grey’s Anatomy doctors call her by her name because they read it helped. In the episode, a liver did become available, but it was an adult liver. This meant that they needed to split the liver between her and another patient. This was also the episode where Alex Karev had the genius idea to use a ping pong ball to help her!
14 Baby August Endris
In season 13 of Grey’s Anatomy, there was a baby, August Endris, who was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This means that the left side of the heart is underdeveloped, and it’s a rare disease that is discovered at birth. The doctors originally just heard a heart murmur and discovered that Gus had hypoplastic left heart syndrome after further testing.
During this episode, Doctor Nathan and Alex disagreed about treatment options so they presented both options to the parents. Nathan wanted to put Gus on the transplant list while Alex wanted to try something called a Norwood. Although I don’t really know what a Norwood is! The parents hadn’t made their decision yet when a heart became available and baby Gus ended up getting the heart transplant that Nathan wanted!
13 Little Girl Jamie Hayes
In season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy, there was a pediatric patient names Jamie Hayes. She was diagnosed with Rasmussen's encephalitis. This is a rare inflammatory disease which can cause seizures, encephalitis, dementia, and loss of motor skills and speech. Jamie’s parents first noticed that her foot would twitch every so often. They originally went to a different hospital for a CT, but the doctors eventually referred them to Seattle Grace Hospital because Dr. Derek Shepherd is the best, duh.
When Derek finally saw Jamie, half of her brain was already dead. Derek said that they needed to remove it or it would continue to spread. You remember the episode — the anesthesiologist was drinking and nodded off and Jamie started to wake up on the table! I don’t know why I love Grey’s Anatomy so much with all these terrifying stories about kids!
12 Baby Jacob
We saw baby Jacob on season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy. He was the tiniest baby and of course those always make me cry. I guess realizing that their condition is real and could totally happen to any of my kids. Jacob was born with omphalocele. This means that his abdominal organs were outside his body, in a sack.
What’s even worse is that during the episode, the sack burst. Arizona Robbins had to sweep in and try to save this tiny baby’s life as fast as she could! Omphalocele is very real and actually occurs in 1 out of every 4,000 births, which is more common that I ever realized. The amazing doctors at Seattle Grace put together a new plan for baby Jacob and he seemed to be doing okay.
11 Baby Bryce Johnson
So anyone who is a fan of Grey’s Anatomy will definitely remember this one. In season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy when Meredith was just a lowly intern, she was watching the babies in the nursery when she noticed one of them turn blue. She told the doctor in the nursery but she was offended that Meredith thought she would miss something like that.
She eventually got the parents and Dr. Burke involved. It turned out that baby Bryce Johnson had tetralogy of fallot with pulmonary atresia. I don’t really know what that means but from what I understand its a more severe type of heart defect. Thankfully Meredith noticed and baby Bryce was okay, but it definitely got my mind going. What if there was something wrong with my baby and no one noticed?
10 Babies Emma And Daniel Kiefer
Well if you aren’t super sad yet, you will be after reading this one. In season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy, baby Emma Kiefer and her twin brother Daniel Kiefer were both born with aggressive liver tumors. They both needed liver transplants asap. Both her parents got tested but it was discovered that only the father was a match, meaning that only one of the babies could be saved. Can you imagine being a parent and having to pick which one of your children you wanted to save??
Dr. Alex Karev didn’t want them to have to choose, so he decided he would open them both up to see which one had the better chance of success. Emma Kiefer ended up getting the liver and immediately started to improve. Her brother Daniel wasn’t so lucky and ended up dying.
9 Baby Maya Noel
We met baby Maya Noel in season 9 of Grey’s Anatomy. She was born with gastroschisis. This is a birth defect that develops while the baby is still in the womb. An opening forms in the baby’s abdominal wall which causes the baby’s bowel to be pushed through the hole. This means that the bowel develops outside of the baby’s body and in the amniotic fluid.
When Maya was born, her intestines were outside of her body and were too swollen to fit back inside. Day after day, the doctors pushed them in just a little bit. When Maya was 13 days old, she was finally able to have surgery to close her abdomen! Maya ended up being fine, but as a mom, it’s hard to hear of all these things that could potentially happen to your baby, even when they’re supposed to be protected in your womb.
8 Baby Oscar
In season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy we got to see baby Oscar. If you have seen Grey’s Anatomy you know him from the abandoned baby found behind the dumpsters at the hospital. Cristina named him Oscar after the Grouch on Sesame Street because he lived in a trash can. Oscar had a ton of things wrong with him which is probably what led his parents to abandon him. His parents likely realized how much money it would cost them to get Oscar the help he needed.
It was discovered that baby Oscar had Shone’s Complex, which Cristina said is the trifecta of heart defects. He had one operation already, which was poorly done, so Cristina also had to fix that on top of everything else. Seeing a baby abandoned is enough to get some tears going in my eyes!
7 Baby Samuel Avery
For those Grey’s Anatomy fans, you should remember this one. In season 11, Jackson and April found out they were pregnant. However, it was soon discovered that their unborn baby, Samuel, had a fatal birth defect called osteogenesis imperfecta. There are different types and some of them are survivable, but Samuel had type 2 which is always fatal. This disease means that their bones are very brittle and can break all the bones just by touching them.
Samuel ended up only living for a couple hours after he was born as his disease was extremely severe. I do remember that episode and I remember crying, a lot. To think of your child having a fatal disease is horrible, but these are real diseases that affect real babies and their parents.
6 Baby Tommy
In season 8, we met baby Tommy who was born to his mom, Morgan, when he was only 24 weeks old. Meredith, Cristina, Alex, and the gang were all set to take their boards so they can officially become licensed doctors. That’s when all this was going down with baby Tommy and Alex almost missed his boards so he could take care of baby Tommy.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis is when the bowl is necrotic, and they can’t salvage it. Both Tommy and his mom both went through so much. Tommy was born at 24 weeks because his mom had a heart attack and they had to deliver him. Then Tommy developed a brain bleed and a tumor. They kept doing surgery after surgery to save Tommy. Eventually his bowel was completely necrotic, and there was nothing further they could do to help baby Tommy.
5 Baby Zola
We first met baby Zola in season 7. Alex was running his African program where he brought kids over from Africa and the doctors helped them. Zola had Spina Bifida and needed brain surgery. She then had a second surgery to repair a hernia. And then there was all the drama with baby Zola being taken away from Derek and Meredith, but eventually all ended well!
Do you remember when Derek had the conversation with Meredith asking her if they could adopt Zola?
Derek said, “I was holding her yesterday, and she was crying and then she stopped. And I've held a lot of babies, I've fixed a lot of babies. But, I looked down at Zola, and I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't imagine her being with any other parent or with any other family.”
4 Baby Tyler Sims
Encephalocele is when the brain and the membranes that cover it protrude through part of the skull. In baby Tyler Sims' case, it was projected out the front of his face. He also had a facial cleft. This was in season 9 and they flew in a specialist, Lauren Boswell, to work with him.
Thankfully, after all of Tyler’s scans were done, it was determined the his encephalocele didn’t contain any brain matter! This meant that it could be easily removed. But it still left the reconstruction. But their hope was that he would have no lasting defects and only a tiny scar on his forehead. Although it’s great news that everything worked out, it’s still scary as a mom to think of your tiny baby having to go into surgery.
3 Babies Andi And Brandi Evans
In season 8, we saw Andi and Brandi Evans who were born conjoined. They were facing opposite direction. Arizona was the main surgeon and had been seeing them since they were born. The surgery to separate them was a big surgery requiring two separate teams of surgeons. While they were separating them, the doctors had to work through a variety of different issues that arose. When they separated the colon, baby Andi had most of the blood supply so Dr. Arizona Robbins needed to perform a ileoproctostomy.
They also ran into issues when separating their spines. They had to be really careful or they could risk paralyzing Brandi. On top of all of that, they needed to take one of Andi’s kidneys and transplant it into Brandi after her kidney failed. When all was said and done, both babies were stable and healthy!
2 Baby Keisha
This is one of those cases that is really scary and it’s something you always think about when you’re a new mom. Especially a new mom who is tired and foggy. In season 4, Teresa Brotherton came in with her baby because she fell down the stairs while holding her baby, Keisha. During the fall, baby Keisha hit her head and hadn’t cried since. It was discovered that her fontanelle was bulging and she was lethargic.
After a neuro consult, it was discovered that the baby had a brain contusion. It was nothing major, but they still wanted to keep her for observation. As a new mom, I remember thinking about this all the time. I would hold my baby so carefully when going up and down stairs because if you had one little mis-step, it could happen to you!
1 Little Boy Parker Hedges
In season 9 we meet Casey Hedges. She brought her son, Parker, into the ER because his fever won’t subside and now he’s getting a rash. She was in the ER the night before also, but they were sent home as the doctors thought it was just a virus. Casey was insistent that her son was not normal. He was extra lethargic and she knew it was more than just a fever. After some more tests they thought he had strep. They sent him home again.
Casey and her son Parker came back in again, and Dr. Jo Wilson got a psychiatrist to talk to Casey because they thought she was crazy. Meredith Grey eventually admitted them just to give them peace of mind. After a string of tests and a brilliant catch on Meredith’s part, they figured out he had Kawasaki Disease.