‘Grey’s Anatomy’: An Efficiency Expert Threatens the Hospital’s Future

"Grey's Anatomy": Constance Zimmer and Kevin McKidd (ABC/KELSEY MCNEAL)

This week’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” was all about getting over traumas. Meredith and Derek each took a big step towards putting the plane crash behind them. April might have found a sexy way to get over Avery. The hospital itself has to find a way to evolve and let go of its past, as a new antagonist, efficiency expert Alana (Constance Zimmer)  was introduced. Here are the highlights.

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Will the Hospital Lose Its E.R.?: Owen has hired the efficiency expert to figure out how the hospital can cut costs due to the $60 million settlement from the plane crash. I want to know how all of the nurses and x-ray techs feel about possibly losing their jobs because some already wealthy surgeons won a lawsuit. Alana was one of the Chief’s (James Pickens Jr.)  former students. He keeps attempting to have coffee with her. She rebuffs him, and points out that he spends less time in the O.R. than any of the other surgeons. He somehow resists the urge to yell at her that his productivity is down because his wife just died. She obviously has some strange resentment of the Chief. After bugging the hell out of everyone in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has ever had to deal with an outside consultant coming into their workplace, she makes her recommendation:  get rid of the E.R. Everyone is aghast. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) argues with her until Bailey interrupts him, pointing out that she doesn’t have $15 million coming her, so she needs to keep her job.  She thinks they all ought to give Alana’s ideas a chance. Since the show relies on the E.R. for story, I am sticking with my prediction that the crash survivors invest their settlement money back into the hospital in exchange for an ownership stake.

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Meredith Gets Over Her Fear of Flying: Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) case of the week is a pregnant woman who needs a liver transplant. She’s already emotional due to her pregnancy hormones, and this case hit entirely too close to home. She is working with intern Ross (Gaius Charles), who manages to bungle removing a liver from a corpse, rendering it unusable. The closest available liver is in Portland. Meredith manages to get past her fears and travel by plane to retrieve it. Since she’s pregnant, she can’t get drunk on the flight the way Cristina did. She manages to power through it.

Derek Performs His First Surgery: Derek, now recovered to the point where he can perform surgery again, starts off with something simple. Just kidding! His patient has a complicated brain tumor that has gone untreated for months  because of Derk’s injury. No one else on earth is as good as Derek! Alana attempts to watch him operate. He kicks her out of the O.R. She is going to have it out for him.

April Bags Another Hottie: April is so preoccupied with teaching Stephanie how to run the pit that she does not notice that a sexy paramedic, played by Justin Breuning (“Switched at Birth”), is flirting with her. Finally, he asks her out to coffee. That should help her get over Avery (Jesse Williams).

Arizona Grapples With Phantom Pain: Finally, a plot involving Arizona’s (Jessica Capshaw) amputation that is actually interesting. She is experiencing debilitating phantom limb pain. She doesn’t want to tell Callie (Sara Ramirez), so she turns to Owen (Kevin McKidd), who is an expert thanks to his past as a combat surgeon. He uses a real life treatment that involves positioning a mirror so that it appears Arizaona has two legs. When she has a bout of pain during surgery, at Owen’s suggestion, she has Alex stab her in her prosthetic. It works. Owen also shows her a visualization technique. She imagines lying on a beach with Callie. It;s supposed to be a sweet, romantic fantasy, but I kept waiting for Izzie and Denny to pop up next to them.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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