It came as a brutal shock to the fans of the riveting ABC medical drama. Even when we tune in on Thursday nights these days, Grey’s Anatomy just isn’t the same without Dr. McDreamy. When Patrick Dempsey decided it was time to move on from the drama after 11 seasons, he went to creator Shonda Rhimes and asked for an out, thinking that she would just send his character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, to Washington D.C. where he was already spending a great deal of time. But she couldn’t do that – more so, she believed his character would never leave the love-of-his-life Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) willingly. So she had a truck kill him and took away his brain. Rude. Even though McDreamy’s death was heartbreaking, there were other deaths that occurred at the Seattle-Grace-Sloan- Grey-Whatever-It’s-Called-Now hospital that were even more traumatic due to their suddenness. Here are 15 deaths that felt way worse than Dr. Shepherd’s.
15 Dr. Craig Thomas
When Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) decided to bail on Seattle after the plane crash that changed everyone, she ran to a hospital in the middle of nowhere Minnesota and met Dr. Craig Thomas (William Daniels), an elderly surgeon. Due to his old fashion ways, Cristina felt that he had nothing to teach her. Turns out, Dr. Thomas became one of the best, if not the best, mentors Cristina could ever ask for. In a short amount of time, Thomas changed the way the young, brilliant, Dr. Yang thought and how she saw the world she was living in. He challenged her in a way she never dreamed she could and the two formed an unbreakable bond. However, Rhimes killed him off suddenly and shocked audiences. While both he and Cristina were performing a ground breaking surgery, Thomas had a massive heart attack and literally died right before Cristina’s eyes. It felt so much more traumatic due to Daniels’ acting and the look both he and Sandra Oh shared over the operating table when he knew his time had arrived.
Now, if you’re like me, you REFUSE to watch any sort of show, cartoon, movie where a dog dies. Sure, I can handle characters getting killed off left and right (yeah, yeah, I know), but if I’m made aware that a dog is going to die before I sit down and watch that particular thing, I won’t do it. Nope. You’ll never catch me watching Marley and Me for kicks. Though if a dog happens to die in one of my favorite shows, I’m caught off guard and will most likely be upset/inconsolable for the next couple of weeks (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, GAME OF THRONES!). This was the case when the show runners of Grey’s killed off Meredith and Derek’s dog Doc. Meredith adopted Doc in Season 2 of the show and the poor thing went to live with Derek and then-wife Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh). He got sick and had to be put to sleep due to his organs failing. It was one of the worst episodes when Meredith and Derek were faced with the task of having poor Doc euthanized.
13 Diane Pierce
Okay, we BARELY got to know the warm and loving mother of Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) when she first arrived in Seattle to seemingly visit her daughter. Turns out that Diane Pierce (LaTanya Richardson Jackson) flew across the country to get a consult from Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) regarding a bad rash that had spread across her chest. It was revealed that Maggie’s adopted mother had inflammatory breast cancer. She decided not to tell her daughter and flew back home. She later returned to have her mastectomy in Seattle and finally told Maggie, who fought to save her mother’s life by attempting to put her in a clinical trial she figured would help. Diane started the trial, only to have it rush up the process of her eventual death. She told her daughter that she no longer wanted the treatment and ended up quietly passing away as Maggie painted her nails in her hospital bed.
12 Mary Portman
This death was crappy for several different reasons. Mary Portman (Mandy Moore) was a favorite patient of Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) who came to the hospital in order to have a colostomy bag reversal surgery. The first time Mary arrived at the hospital with her husband, the widower of a deceased patient terrorized the hospital and begin to shoot up staff. Bailey ended up saving Mary’s life by having her play dead when the shooter came into her room. However, neither Bailey nor Mary could save the life of Dr. Charles Percy (Robert Baker) who was shot in front of them and succumbed to his injuries. Mary and her husband put off the surgery after she survived the shooting and came back weeks later in order to have the procedure done. While Bailey performed the surgery with ease, Mary never woke up from the anesthesia following the surgery. Her husband decided to pull the plug after Mary’s organs started shutting down. After Mary survived all the violence, she ended up dying from something so simple.
11 Dr. Heather Brooks
Dr. Heather Brooks (Tina Majorino) was a quirky little intern that showed up in Season 9 of the drama. While everyone just dismissed her in the beginning due to her social anxiety, she became a key part in Meredith deciding that she (and the other doctors involved in the plane crash) would buy the hospital after learning the company that wished to buy it only wanted to sell it for parts. Brooks would often act as Meredith’s eyes and ears in the hospital during this time period. Later on, Derek took a special interest in her after she impressed him with her reflexes. Turns out she excelled in neurosurgery after Derek took her under his wing and built up her confidence. Though this angered Dr. Shane Ross (Gaius Charles), another intern who wished to go into neuro and felt that Brooks was “stealing” his mentor Derek from him. During a storm, Derek sent Ross to go find Brooks for him, but when Ross ended up running into her, he told her to go seek out Dr. Richard Webber (Bailey had sent him to find Webber) instead of sending her to Derek. Brooks stumbled upon Webber, who had been electrocuted in the generator room. When she went to help him, she was electrocuted and eventually died from her wounds.
10 Jen Harmon
Talk about the patient who ended up breaking Dr. Shepherd, jeez. The pregnant Jen Harmon (Jennifer Westfeldt) came in with her husband after she accidentally ran over him with her car, which she blamed on pregnancy brain after leaving the car in drive. After she collapsed at the hospital, doctors discovered that she had a brain aneurysm that had yet to burst. Jen kept having her surgery pushed back (for good reasons) and the more it happened and the more nervous Jen became, the more her blood pressure shot up which was a danger to her unborn baby. Derek successfully clipped her aneurysm, but Jen was still in distress following the surgery. He ultimately decided that she needed a transfusion, even though it was deemed too risky. After a series of strokes, blood flow issues, and pre-eclampsia, Derek thought it would be best to remove her temporal lobe, and then her frontal lobe when the bleeding in her brain spread during surgery. While her baby ended up surviving, Jen did not, and Derek blamed himself. He was deposed for a lawsuit shortly following her death and Derek ended up going off the deep end.
9 Adele Webber
Fans of the drama know the roller coaster ride that was the Adele Webber (Lorette Devine) and Dr. Richard Webber’s (James Pickens, Jr.) marriage. Adele managed to work her way through Richard’s affair with Meredith’s genius surgeon mother, Ellis Grey (Kate Burton) – which actually resulted in daughter Maggie – but in the end, it was Richard’s marriage to the hospital itself that appeared to win out. Both separated for a bit until it was revealed that Adele was showing signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Meredith was able to prolong her life after rigging her and Derek’s own clinical trial in order to save her. Richard ended up putting her in a home after she became a danger to herself and those around her. Right before Dr. Bailey’s wedding, Adele was rushed into the ER with an aneurysm and both Bailey and Richard rushed back to the hospital in order to save her life. Bailey ends up fixing the aneurysm and heads to go get married while Richard stays by his wife’s side in recovery. Richard later shows up to Bailey’s wedding and tells Meredith that Adele had died of a massive heart attack post surgery.
8 Dylan Young
At the time he played Dylan Young, actor Kyle Chandler was just on his way to stardom. Shonda Rhimes had written the character specifically so he could be killed off at the end of a very important episode, but Chandler apparently begged Rhimes to spare Young, but her mind was set. Dylan Young was a hardheaded, no-nonsense member of the bomb squad that was called in after the surgeons discovered that a patient was rushed in after being shot with a live bomb. Meredith was keeping the bomb steady after the young paramedic who was holding the bomb (in the body of the patient, no doubt) panicked and nearly killed everyone by taking her hand off the bomb. Dylan talked Meredith through a panic attack of her own and managed to get her to slowly remove the bomb from the body of the patient and hand it over to him. As he carefully moved to go disarm the bomb, it exploded and Dylan was blown to dust right in front of Meredith.
7 Dr. Charles Percy
When Dr. Charles Percy (Robert Baker) first arrived at Seattle Grace after the merger with Mercy West Hospital, he was annoying as hell. He was even part of the reason why beloved Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heighl) lost her job. After a while, the lug of a character started to grow on audiences and his crush on the b****y Dr. Reed became somewhat endearing (even though none of us understood what he saw in that anal sore of a character), which made it hard to watch his eventual demise. After Gary Clark (the grieving widower of a former hospital patient) stormed into the hospital and started shooting up surgeons, he took aim at Percy as he hid in Mary’s room. After he was shot, Dr. Bailey and Mary attempted to save his life, but since the elevators were shut down by the police in order to close in on the active shooter, there was nothing Bailey could do. Percy ended up dying in her arms.
6 Susan Grey
Susan Grey (Mare Winningham) was the second wife of Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry), Meredith’s dad. Susan took to Meredith because she felt that she needed a warmer mother figure after being raised by an iceberg like Ellis Grey (she never said that, but you know she probably thought it). She refused to let Meredith shut her out after she attempted to mother her after Ellis passed away. Meredith and Susan eventually grew close and through Susan, Meredith started accepting her own father in her life as well. Susan was brought to the hospital with acid reflux which resulted in a long-lasting case of the hiccups. The doctors eventually scheduled her for endoscopic gastorphication after the hiccups refused to go away. The surgery was a success, but Susan eventually came back in with a fever and was rushed into another surgery after she started cramping and went into sepsis. Susan ended up dying during surgery thanks to a complication that was a direct result of the doctors attempting to treat her hiccups. Yes, she died of the hiccups.
5 Henry Burton
Oh, this one hurt like hell. Henry Burton (Scott Foley) was a man who was suffering from von Hippel-Lindau and ended up coming to the hospital without insurance and in desperate need of surgery. Taking pity on him, Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) married him so he can get on her insurance. At first, their relationship started out strictly professional due to Teddy’s unwillingness to see a patient die, but it was clear that Henry was utterly smitten with Teddy. After a bunch of surgeries (one of which included Webber removing Henry’s pancreas) and Henry’s roller coaster of health issues brought on by his disease, Teddy and her husband-of-convenience started bonding. Eventually, Teddy fell in love with Henry and their marriage become one based on mutual love. After he was admitted back to the hospital and needed a routine bronchoscopy. Teddy came up with the idea of having Cristina do the surgery without knowing who she was doing the surgery on (she was just told he was a 35-year old male). Henry didn’t survive the surgery and Cristina ended up almost collapsing in grief after learning his identity and realizing that she killed her mentor’s husband.
4 Mark Sloan
Oh sure, Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) was a rake when he first arrived at Seattle Grace, but Dr. McSteamy eventually grew on the hospital staff and fans of the show. The plastic surgeon was Shepherd’s best friend back in New York City, but after Mark ended up having an affair with Addison, who was married to Derek at the time, he might as well have been dead to his former bestie. Derek eventually forgave Mark and he started to become embedded in the fiber of the hospital - even though he slept with pretty much every single female who worked there. Sloan ended up falling head over heels in love with Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), but complications kept arising in their relationship, including his affair with best friend Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) which resulted in the birth of daughter Sofia. After being involving in the plane crash that killed Lexie, Mark ended up dying of a cardiac tamponade two months after the crash itself.
3 Lexie Grey
Lexie Grey, the half-sister of Meredith, came to Seattle Grace a shy, meek intern, eager to be close with her sister, who ended up rejecting her advances from the get-go. Through five seasons, audiences watched Lexie grow into a confident, and talented, surgeon with a photographic memory. Eventually Lexie and Meredith grew close and even after a bunch of mismatched romantics with co-workers, Lexie found love with Mark Sloan. Mark ended up hurting Lexie in more ways than one, even though he truly loved her, so Lexie had to move on (not really). Both were in the plane that was headed to Boise when it ended up crashing in the woods. Lexie was pinned under part of the plane itself, her organs crushed, and spent her last moments alive with Mark, who pledged his eternal love for her in one of the most tearful goodbyes ever witnessed. Ugh we are still not over this moment.
2 Denny Duquette Jr.
The fatal Denny Duquette Jr. (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was a charming heart patient at Seattle Grace. Denny usually worked his charms to get what he wanted out of the doctors, even though he was practically a dead man walking. He eventually set his sights on Izzie Stevens after becoming smitten by her. Izzie ended up falling in love with the patient and saved him multiple times when he was at death’s door. Finally, he was able to get a new heart after Izzie cut his LVAD wire in order to get him moved to the head of the transplant list. Denny ended up proposing to Izzie before he was rushed into surgery and she accepted once his new heart was placed in him. Izzie and Denny were able to spend a day together marveling at his new, strong heart before Denny had a stroke and passed away. Izzie ended up clinging to Denny’s lifeless body before she finally had to be carried away in a dramatic scene.
1 George O'Malley
Oh, you think Derek’s death was horribly traumatizing? His death was nothing compared to the death of Dr. George O’Malley (T.R. Knight). George was part of the original Seattle Grace interns and the best friend of Izzie Stevens. Sure, he was out of his league when he fell in love with Meredith, but that shouldn’t be held against him. George was a talented, and sweet, doctor who cared way too deeply. He was often kicked around by the other interns (Alex Karev in general), but would eventually end up standing up for himself. He married Callie Torres for a bit after the death of his father rocked him to his core, but they divorced after a brief affair with Izzie turned his world upside down. During the sixth season of the show, George discovered his talents were best suited as a trauma surgeon and he enlisted in the Army. But before he was able to make it there, he was hit by a bus while saving a woman’s life. He was rushed to the hospital as a John Doe and was unrecognizable until Meredith figured out who he was and rushed to tell the others. He ended up dying and all his organs were donated in a melancholy, unforgettable, episode.