Top 10 Surprising Facts about Grey’s Anatomy

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Top 10 Surprising Facts about Grey's Anatomy

VOICE OVER: Lisa Yang
This long running medical drama show has been on for 13 Seasons, and Shonda Rhimes has managed to keep the viewers entertained all this time. In this countdown we take a look at 10 facts that you may not have known about Grey's Anatomy! For instance, did you know that Sarah Drew went into labor within hours after her character did? That the show was almost called 'Complications'? That Isaiah Washington learned all his character's surgeries and that the show's title is based on a famous medical book?
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Top 10 Surprising Facts About Grey’s Anatomy


From McDreamy to McSteamy and everything in-between, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Surprising Facts About Grey’s Anatomy.

For this list, we’re looking at interesting facts, bits of true information and/or trivia you may not know about the hit medial drama.

#10: Rob Lowe Was Considered for the Role of Derek Shepherd

It's hard to believe it, but McDreamy didn't always have the face of Patrick Dempsey. Prior to Dempsey accepting the part, the role had been offered to none other than the ever-charming former brat-packer Rob Lowe. But while he found that the writing was strong and the plot entertaining, Lowe ultimately decided to pass on the opportunity; instead choosing to accept a role another new series, Dr. Vegas. Unfortunately for Lowe, the show was canceled almost immediately, while Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Patrick Dempsey playing McDreamy, but Rob Lowe might just have pulled it off.

#9: Sarah Drew Went into Labor Within Hours After Her Character Did

Sarah Drew, the actress who plays Dr. April Kepner, was pregnant at the same time as her character. While that's nothing new for Hollywood, this is. After shooting a labor and birth scene in character the day before, Drew herself went into labour. This came as quite the shock as she wasn’t scheduled to give birth for another three-and-a-half weeks. Thankfully, after eleven stressful days in a neonatal intensive care unit, the actress went home with a newborn daughter named Hannah. Maybe all that fake pushing she did on set tricked her baby into thinking it was time to come out!

#8: All Those Organs Are Real (Kind Of)

When you’re shooting a TV show that revolves around the daily exploits of a hospital, things are bound to get a little messy. Heart transplants, liver donations, skin grafts; these are just some of the procedures that take place during the day to day of Grey’s Anatomy’s fictional emergency room. And while the show never shied away when it came to shooting up and close and personal views of the human body, most would assume that what they were witnessing wasn’t real. However, all the organs in the show are actually real organs... just not real human organs. Being that authentic might be a step (or several) too far, but the producers of the show were more than willing to use animal organs in the name of realism – specifically from lambs and cows.

#7: The Show Was Almost Called 'Complications'

Grey’s Anatomy has entered the lexicon of Western society thanks more than a decade's worth of airtime dedicated to a group of doctors at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. And yet, the name of the show was almost something completely different. Originally titled “Grey's Anatomy” as we know it now, the title was briefly changed to “Complications” just prior to the first season. This title was meant to reflect the complicated nature of the characters lives as well as the difficult medical procedures they were tasked with pulling off. While the name didn’t last, one wonders whether or not the show would have survived working under a more generic title.

#6: All the Original Interns Had Surgery During the Show’s Run

In the world of televised medical dramas, it appears that even if you’re a doctor, nurse or intern, your likelihood of going under the knife rises considerably. Just ask Meredith, Cristina, Alex, George and Izzie. The five original interns from the show’s first season all found themselves on the operating table at one point or another. Some, such as protagonist Meredith Grey, underwent multiple procedures. These weren’t your garden-variety surgeries either; with Alex being treated for a gunshot wound and George finding himself in the ER after getting hit by a bus. One thing to take from this: if you're a TV character and you want to stay healthy, maybe don’t work at a hospital.

#5: Isaiah Washington Learned All His Character’s Surgeries

While he may have been written out after three seasons, Washington’s work ethic cannot be denied. In fact, show-runner Shonda Rhimes told Oprah in 2006 interview that Washington was so committed to the role of Dr. Preston Burke he shadowed real-life surgeons…sometimes for their entire 48-hour shift! If that wasn’t impressive enough, consider this: Washington took the time to learn every single surgery his character ever performed during his time on the show. It is entirely possible that if he had stayed on for a few more seasons he may have been inspired to go on and get his medical degree in real life!

#4: The Show's Title Is Based on a Famous Medical Book

It would be easy to assume that the show’s title is simply a play on Meredith
Grey’s last name, combined with the fact that it revolves around her personal and physical struggles… i.e. her “anatomy”. However, the title of this hit ABC medical drama actually derives from a 19th century textbook. Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body was first published in 1858 and has since spawned 41 different editions, and is regarded within the medical community as one of the most significant books to ever tackle the subject of human anatomy.

#3: Miranda Bailey Was the Only Character Written with a Character Description

When preparing to pitch a television show to a major network, it stands to reason that developing detailed descriptions for the characters in your show should be a top priority. Apparently this was not the case for the creator and writer of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. In fact, there was only one character in the entire script that was created with any description or even any notion of race in mind. That character was Miranda Bailey and her character bio read: “tiny blonde with curls”. Fans of the show will be quick to note that the actress who plays Bailey, Chandra Wilson, is neither blonde nor curly.

#2: Meredith & Preston Were Almost a Couple

It’s hard to imagine Meredith pining over anyone other than Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd during the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. Yet according to Ellen Pompeo, Shonda Rhimes had originally planned for her to end up with Dr. Preston Burke – or at least Isaiah Washington in the role of McDreamy, if the actor had gotten that part. This was due in part to Rhimes’ desire to have an interracial couple on the show. Ultimately it was Pompeo who drew a line in the sand, stating that if possible she’d prefer her character to end up with someone else. This wasn't a malicious act on Pompeo's part, as her reasoning was that she is in an interracial couple in real life and didn’t want her art to reflect her life.

#1: Watching the Show May Cause Negative Attitudes Towards Organ Donation

Grey’s Anatomy is just a television show, yet for some, it has become an influential factor in regards to how they feel towards organ donation. Based on a number of inaccurate portrayals over the years, a study from the Communication Research journal found that regular viewers of the show were more likely to look unfavorably towards organ donation as opposed to non-viewers. This discrepancy has been blamed on storylines such as one that occurred in Season 2, where Dr. Shepherd stops a team of doctors from harvesting organs a patient they thought was brain-dead…who in fact, was not. Every show gets it wrong now and again, but it doesn’t usually affect whether or not you get a new kidney!
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