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Grey's Anatomy: Every Time Meredith Grey Almost Died (So Far)

Grey's Anatomy Meredith Grey sits on a gurney in a dark hospital room.

Of all the bold and terrifying things Grey’s Anatomy has put its characters through in its seventeen seasons, Meredith Grey has been on the wrong side of disaster in more than her fair share of situations. Ellen Pompeo has shined as we’ve watched Meredith grow, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a fictional doctor I’d rather have in charge of my operating room. But, when you go back and look at the series as a whole, it’s surprising how much time Meredith has spent as a patient or victim of a tragedy. Come on, Grey’s, why do you want to treat your star like that? No wonder she’s dark and twisty.

Meredith Grey has been in a plane crash, nearly drowned, assisted in her own surgery, faced off with a gunman, and — because 2020 happened — caught COVID. That’s not even everything Meredith’s been through, and with Grey's Anatomy Season 18 set to premiere this fall, there’s likely more to come. Let’s take a look at every time Meredith Grey has almost died on Grey’s in the seventeen seasons so far.

Grey's Anatomy Meredith holds live bomb inside man's body

When She Stuck Her Hand On A Live Bomb Inside A Patient's Body (Season 2, “It’s The End Of The World/As We Know It”)

When a man entered the ER with an unexploded bazooka in his chest, Meredith plunged her hand into his body to hold the bomb in place. She was left for much of the two episodes unable to move for fear of detonating the bomb and turning them into “pink mist.” After securing as much of the hospital as possible, Dr. Burke extended the wound so Meredith could pull the bomb out and hand it to Dylan from bomb squad. Dylan was only a few steps down the hall before the bomb went off, sending Meredith flying. She survived, but the same can’t be said for Dylan.

Grey's Anatomy Derek pulls unconscious Meredith out of the water

When She Almost Drowned After A Ferry Boat Accident (Season 3, “Drowning On Dry Land”)

As Meredith treated victims of a huge ferry accident, she was pushed into the bay, and by the time Derek finally pulled her out of the water, she was a scary shade of blue. Back at the hospital, the doctors struggled to get her body temperature out of the 80s, and performed CPR while her heart refused to beat. In her unconsciousness, Meredith was confronted by people who had died before her. She had to decide that she wanted to live before she could regain consciousness. Even after her body temperature came back up, it took a cardio-pulmonary bypass and multiple shocks before she began breathing on her own.

Grey's Anatomy Gunman points a gun at Meredith.

When She Told The Hospital Gunman To Shoot Her (Season 6, “Death And All His Friends”)

When Gary Clark went on a shooting rampage at Seattle Grace to avenge the death of his wife, he specifically went after the three surgeons he deemed responsible — Derek Shepherd, Richard Webber, and Lexie Grey. In an attempt to save Derek’s life, Meredith jumped in front of Clark, explaining that killing her would serve as revenge against all three. Clark looked like he was going to shoot Meredith before Cristina yelled that Meredith was pregnant, and Clark paused long enough for Owen to attempt to overtake him. This got Meredith out of danger for the moment, but, sadly, Meredith suffered a miscarriage in the following minutes.

Grey's Anatomy Meredith lies amid the wreckage from a plane crash.

When Her Plane Crashed (Season 8, “Flight”)

In the Season 8 finale, the plane carrying Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Lexie, Mark, and Arizona to Boise crashed in the woods, and Lexie died soon after. It was a miracle any of them survived, to be honest, and it was actually Cristina who vocalized the unlikelihood that the group had befallen another tragedy, exclaiming, “I don’t understand how this keeps happening!” Grey’s Anatomy didn’t address how the survivors were rescued, as Season 8 ended with no one back in Seattle realizing they hadn’t made it to their destination. Season 9 picked up a month after their rescue, when Mark Sloan also succumbed to his injuries.

Grey's Anatomy Meredith instructs surgeon how to fix her spleen

When Her Spleen Ruptured After Her Emergency C-Section During A Power Outage (Season 9, “Perfect Storm”)

During a huge storm, the hospital lost power and the generators weren’t working. Meredith went into labor and was forced to undergo an emergency C-section in the dark. When her OB had to run off to another emergency, Shane was left to close Meredith up. He mentioned there was a lot of blood not coming from her uterus, and Meredith realized she must have internal bleeding from falling down the stairs the day before. Lying with her whole body open on the table, Meredith talked Shane through how to fix her hemorrhaging spleen before she lost consciousness. Now that’s bad ass.

Grey's Anatomy Meredith's badly bruised face is shown as she lies in a hospital bed

When She Was Attacked By A Patient (Season 12, “The Sound Of Silence”)

While treating a patient after a seizure, Meredith got attacked when the patient went into a fugue state. Her injuries almost killed her, as she suffered fractures and dislocations all over her body, as well as a badly beaten face and hearing loss. Of all the times Meredith’s life has been in danger, this one was particularly hard to watch because of the pain she went through, and not just physically. This episode tracked Meredith’s long recovery over a six-week period.

Grey's Anatomy Teddy checks Meredith's vitals as she has a ventilator from COVID

When She Got COVID (Season 17, "The Center Won't Hold”)

You’d think we would have learned by now that Meredith always pulls through, but earlier this year, when ABC waited to announce Grey’s Anatomy’s renewal for an eighteenth season, it really looked like Meredith might succumb to the global pandemic and stay in her beach hallucination with McDreamy for eternity. Meredith was touch-and-go for most of Season 17, and Thursday nights played out like our daily news feeds with overcrowded hospitals and COVID deaths. But, in a real tear-jerker, “Good as Hell” saw Meredith pull through, ready to take on whatever Season 18 has to throw at her.

Meredith Grey is the foundation of Grey’s Anatomy, and I don’t want to imagine a Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital without her in it. I’m going to need Meredith to adhere to Cristina Yang’s advice that she gave before leaving for Switzerland:

Don't get on any little, tiny planes that can crash or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it or offer your life to a gunman! Don't do that. Don't be a hero. You're my person. I need you alive. You make me brave.

Same, Cristina. Same. Just as Meredith continued to have these near-death experiences after Cristina left, it’s likely she will continue to find herself in life-threatening situations until the day Grey’s Anatomy is no more. At least we can hope that when her day comes, Derek and all the others who went before her will be waiting to welcome her on that beach.

Season 18 of Grey’s Anatomy is set to premiere at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 30 on ABC. All seventeen seasons are available for streaming on Netflix, and be sure to check out our 2021 fall TV schedule to keep up with the upcoming premieres for all of your favorite shows.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.