‘Grey’s Anatomy’: The Efficiency Expert’s Agenda is Revealed

Constance Zimmer and Andy Milder in "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC/KELSEY MCNEAL)

This week’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” owes a lot to a New Yorker article from last August which detailed efforts to standardize the practice of medicine. It presented these changes in protocol as positive, while “Grey’s” takes the opposite tack. It all led to a juicy twist at the end of the episode which has the potential to be a game changer for the series. Here are the highlights.

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The Efficiency Expert has a Hidden Agenda: Alana (Constance Zimmer) the efficiency expert installs a remote doctor who will monitor hospital rooms via remote cameras and two way mirrors and offer advice. She also implements new procedures in the O.R. Some of what she does seems like a good idea, like organizing surgical instruments for maximum efficiency, but everyone is resistant to her ideas on principle. She also brings in a hernia expert to teach everyone to use his method. Weber (James Pickens Jr.) struggles with it, preferring to use the procedure he developed. They get into an argument when the guest surgeon says patients don’t matter, only performing the procedure the same way each time. I wish we could have seen whether the surgeon’s mesh procedure was actually better or worse than Weber’s method. Also, how much did she spend hiring the guy to teach the seminar? It doesn’t seem like a good way to cut costs.

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Meanwhile, Owen (Kevin McKidd)  makes sure Alana ends up in the O.R. where she winds up playing an important role in lifesaving surgery on a patient who was brought to the hospital by helicopter. She proves herself to be a good surgeon, and obviously relishes saving a life instead of being a bean counter. That dovetails nicely with Derek (Patrick Dempsey)  and April coming up with a plan to save the E.R. by asking the other departments that we never see to make small cuts.They want to cut fat like senior surgeons attending the TED conference on the hospital’s dime. Why the hell is the hospital paying for that? No wonder Seattle Grace is in financial trouble. April (Sarah Drew) has to approach the department heads when Derek is called into surgery.  Nobody will listen to her because of her lousy people skills. So after his surgery is over, Derek charms and cajoles and blackmails everyone in other departments into making cuts. They present their solution to her, expecting that, fresh off her own surgical triumph, she will be impressed. Instead, Alana reveals that it doesn’t matter. She is actually prepping the hospital to be sold. For some reason, buyers won’t want the E.R.  Good thing there are a bunch of doctors with $15 million settlement checks that they might be willing to pool together to purchase Seattle Grace.

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The Invisible Doctor Bob: Cristina (Sandra Oh) treats a patient who is a Jehovah’s Witness and can’t have a blood transfusion. They have to do a bloodless aortic transection.  His friend doesn’t think the patient was really a devout Jehovah’s witness. After surgery, the unseen remote doctor, Bob, spars with Cristina, who considers his presence an intrusion. Since a transfusion would help, they decide to talk to the family. His parents are convinced that living with the blood would be worst than dying without it. The intern is about to give him blood anyway when Dr. Bob  sees and stops her. To Cristina’s surprise, Bob will not rat out her out since she stopped before she did anything wrong. Without blood, he dies. I hope his parents are happy.

Meredith Feels the Baby Kick: The MerDer baby looks like it’s going to survive. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is concerned when she feels fluttering. It turns out to be the baby’s first kick.

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

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