We *love* Grey's Anatomy, even if it doesn't love us back. The long-running hospital drama seems to enjoy ripping our hearts out. Not only are patients constantly at risk of dying, but so are the doctors taking care of them! From bombs and ferry crashes to hospital shootings and downed planes, Seattle Grace has to be one of the most dangerous places to work. We ranked the 20 saddest deaths on all of Grey's Anatomy. So cue up "How To Save a Life" and "Chasing Cars" and prepare to cry your heart out.
Episode: Season 5, Episode 13
William Dunn was a serial killer who came to Seattle Grace as a patient after being stabbed with a toothbrush-shiv. Dark and twisty Meredith bonds with William (of course she does) and gives him instructions about how to kill himself so that his organs can be donated after his death. His suicide attempt is ultimately unsuccessful. Meredith's intervention in the situation becomes a point of contention between her and Derek (whose father was murdered). William asks Meredith to attend his execution and she agrees. His death is sad, but mostly it's touching because Derek shows up to support Meredith in the end.
Episode: Season 6, Episode 23
Listen, we're not going to claim that we were super emotionally invested in Reed Adamson as a character. As one of the residents who came to Seattle Grace after the merger with Mercy West, she sometimes rubbed us (and her fellow residents) the wrong way but she eventually grew on us. She was the first person to die in the shocking hospital shooting at the end of the sixth season. Gary Clark shooting Reed in the head was our first clue that the shooting was going to be like nothing we had ever seen before on this truly crazy show. The fact that her dead body was discovered by her best friend, April Kepner, only added to the tragedy of her death.
Episode: Season 10, Episode 2
Heather Brooks was one of the five new interns at Seattle Grace. She was anxious and socially awkward, sleeping with Karev early in her time at Seattle Grace because it was easier than talking to him. Heather wasn't around for long, but before her death, she was starting to come into her own and embrace her natural talent as a neurosurgeon. Heather was one of the victims of the superstorm that triggered a mudslide and brought a new slate of patients into Seattle Grace. In her rush to help an electrocuted Chief Webber, she ran through an electrically charged puddle, ultimately hitting her head and dying from brain swelling. Her death caused a tremendous amount of guilt for Shane.
Episode: Season 6, Episode 24
Charles Percy was another victim of the hospital shooting that devastated Seattle Grace at the end of season six. What makes Charles Percy's death so tragic is the fact that it could have been prevented. Just collateral damage on Gary Clark's revenge rampage, Bailey tended to the injured surgeon, but ultimately needed to get him to an OR in order to fix his wounds. When the pair was stranded due to the SWAT team's decision to shut off the elevators, Bailey had to tell him that he was indeed going to die. The whole tragic thing was made worse by his tearful confession that he was in love with Reed. He died not knowing that Reed was also a victim of the shooting.
Episode: Season 2, Episode 10
Season two's bomb scare will always stand out as the very first dramatic event to rock Seattle Grace to its core. We immediately loved the frank bomb squad leader Dylan Young. (How could we not? He was played by the super-hot Kyle Chandler.) He died disposing of the bomb that had been inside patient James Carlson. While his bravery saved countless lives in the hospital, his death would come to haunt Meredith's dreams. He was one of the people who would appear to her after her near drowning in the ferry accident. His fast-talking ghost was part of the reason Meredith decided to come back to life, and for that we are grateful.
Episode: Season 11, Episode 11
Okay, so Samuel wasn't really a character since he was, you know, an unborn baby for most of the time he was on the series. But, his death mere hours after his birth is still heart-wrenching. Watching April and Jackson hold their son as he died really brought on the waterworks. What was even more devastating was the fact that April and Jackson knew that their son wasn't going to survive long after his birth. Samuel had a rare birth defect that meant his bones were too brittle to survive outside of the womb. April and Jackson made the difficult decision to induce labor at 24 weeks and their son died in their arms. Samuel's birth and death would ultimately be too difficult for the couple to overcome.
Episode: Season 10, Episode 13
For ten long seasons, all we knew about Jimmy Evans were the few allusions Alex Karev would make to his abusive father. But, when Jimmy got in a car crash and was brought to Seattle Grace, we were finally able to see the pair interact. Karev was shocked to learn that not only had Jimmy abandoned him and his mom, but he had left his second family as well. After having a run-in with Alex at a bar, Jimmy tries to get clean. He returns to Seattle Grace and develops a treatment plan as he battles through withdrawal. When Jimmy suddenly has heart problems, he's taken into surgery by Shane. Wracked with guilt from Heather's death and sleep deprived, Shane botches the surgery. Jimmy dies with his son by his side.
Episode: Season 8, Episode 10
Teddy might have married Henry in order to get him insurance coverage, but their feelings for each other quickly became real. The pair eventually confessed their feelings for each other, and their relationship became legit. That only makes Henry's death even more depressing. Watching Cristina unknowingly operate on Henry was horrible. After pulling out all the stop to save him, seeing Cristina learn that Henry was her patient was one of the saddest moments we've seen on Grey's Anatomy in a long time. What is it with all these doctors falling for men with terminal heart conditions?
Episode: Season 4, Episode 10
We immediately fell in love with charming patient Nick Hansom (played by the lovable Seth Green). He was one of the first patients that Lexie Grey took care of as an intern. Little Grey formed a personal connection with Nick, who was in the hospital after his carotid artery became exposed following the removal of a tumor. Watching Nick quickly bleed out after his artery burst was traumatic, both for us and Lexie Grey. So much blood!
Episode: Season 2, Episode 6
Another one of the most memorable patient deaths on Grey's Anatomy, Bonnie was impaled on a pole during a train crash. She and her fellow passenger, Tom Maynard, were both stuck with the same pole. Since Bonnie's internal organs were eviscerated and the hospital was short on resources, all the doctors except Meredith made the difficult decision to abandon working on her and focus on Tom instead. After her death, Derek was tasked with the difficult role of telling Bonnie's fiancé about her final goodbye. What makes Bonnie's death so tragic is the fact it makes absolutely no sense. Isn't Seattle Grace like the best hospital in the city? How did they just run out of doctors? Come on people!
Episode: Season 3, Episode 23
Susan Grey's death hit us hard. It also made us deathly afraid of the hiccups. When Meredith's stepmother came in the hospital with a chronic case of the hiccups, doctors thought that the problem would be an easy fix. Yet, in classic Grey's fashion, the basic problem quickly turned deadly. It was horrible to watch Susan die, but it was also awful to watch Meredith's seemingly sweet father turn into a cruel alcoholic. After the loss of her biological mother, seeing Meredith blamed for the death of Susan broke our hearts. At least Meredith always had Chief Webber as a stand-in father figure.
Episode: Season 3, Episode 12
Seriously! Never go to Seattle Grace! It's basically a death sentence. After being admitted to the hospital with a broken clavicle, Harold O'Malley complained of abdominal pain and was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. As if that wasn't bad enough, the doctors then discovered that he had a leaky aortic valve. This dude could not catch a break. While George wanted his father to undertake a conservative treatment plan, Harold wanted his surgeons to be more aggressive. After cutting out an extensive amount of tumor, his doctors monitored him closely. Initially, he was doing well, but when Bailey ran into problems intubating him his health quickly went downhill. Watching George grow up as he faced his father's death hit close to home.
Episode: Season 5, Episode 16
We're not biased or anything, but the hardest part of Jen's death was watching Derek's reaction. After nicking her aneurysm in her first surgery, Derek watched Jen's case closely. She beat complications that arose from a blood transfusion that was incompatible with her fetus, so it seemed like Jen is truly out of the woods. But Jen started having a series of mini strokes and it was clear that her problems were not over. After Derek removed most of her frontal lobe, Jen died from complications. Her death shook Derek so much he took a baseball bat and the engagement ring he had planned to give to Meredith into the woods and the rest is dramatic TV history. Watching a diamond get punted into the woods? Deeply upsetting.
Episode: Season 9, Episode 10
Adele Webber was the only person in Seattle Grace who could talk sense into the hospitals deeply megalomaniac doctors. She repeatedly gave Richard, Meredith, Derek, and the rest the surgeons perfect pep-talks to snap them out of their self-destructive behaviors. Watching the smart and self-possessed Adele struggle with Alzheimer's was difficult. While Bailey and Richard were en route to Bailey's wedding, they received the call that Adele being brought into the ER. Bailey postponed her wedding in order to operate on Adele, who made it through the surgery. When Richard showed up late to Bailey's wedding, Meredith knew something was wrong. Richard told her that Adele had died from a heart attack following surgery. The two of them then shared a tender moment, reflecting on their complicated shared pasts together.
Episode: Season 3, Episode 17
Let's just say that Ellis Grey was not the best mother in the world. Between her prolonged affair with Richard Webber, her suicide attempt in front of her young daughter, and her withholding attitude, she really managed to do a number on dark and twisty Meredith. For the first several seasons, Meredith keeps the secret of her mother's Alzheimer's to herself. Eventually, Richard Webber discovers the truth and he begins visiting Ellis in her nursing home, which greatly improves her moods. Meredith and her mother have one final conversation during Meredith's near-death experience. It's a touching moment where Ellis finally tells Meredith that she is anything but ordinary. Galvanized by her mother's words, Meredith is successfully resuscitated. She wakes up to find her mother has passed away. We're not crying, you're crying.
Episode: Season 9, Episode 2
We'll admit it. We were naive. We sort of thought that Mark would survive his injuries from the plane crash. At first, it seemed like the gifted plastic surgeon had only minor injuries, but after Lexie died (spoiler alert! #4!), it became apparent that Mark had more serious problems. While Meredith managed to drain the fluid from around his heart, it seemed like the damage was done. Watching Mark tell Arizona that Lexie was waiting for him was the hardest we've ever cried. But it was just as difficult to watch Arizona tell Mark that she, Callie, and Sofia were depending on him as well. While we're glad that Mark and Lexie are finally together, we'll never be okay when we remember how Mark died of a broken heart.
Episode: Season 8, Episode 24
We weren't sure how we felt about Little Grey when she first showed up on Grey's Anatomy, but we quickly came to love the second Grey sister. We spent seasons cheering on her relationship with Mark Sloan. Come on, they were perfect for each other. He was gruff and cynical, and she was optimistic and bubbly. It was chronically unfair that these two never got their happily ever after. Please figure your relationship issues out before you both tragically die! It's that too much to ask from a TV show?
Episode: Season 11, Episode 21
We're in serious denial that this one even happened. Seriously, in our minds, Derek is still alive. He and Meredith are living in their dream house and everything in perfect! Our day-one Grey's Anatomy OTP was crushed forever in season 11 when Derek died in a car crash. Before Derek's death, our dream couple was really going through it. After turning down a job in Washington DC, Derek became miserable with his life in Seattle. Eventually, Derek walked out on his family, opting to choose the job in DC, but eventually, he decided that he couldn't be without Meredith and fought to make their marriage work. Only he was hit by a car on the way home. Hearing Derek narrate his own death was super cool! And by super cool mean we haven't stopped crying about it.
Episode: Season 2, Episode 27
Watching Denny Duquette die was the first time that we realized Grey's Anatomy really did not care about our feelings. We couldn't help but root for Izzie and Denny as the two of them fell in love, even though their relationship crossed all kinds of lines. When Izzie stole a heart for Denny, we figured that it would all be worth it if Denny survived. But when Denny died the night of the hospital's makeshift prom, we couldn't believe it. Queue "Chasing Cars" and one of TV's most iconic sequences of the last decade.
Episode: Season 5, Episode 23
It took five seasons for Grey's Anatomy to kill a major character, and we still weren't ready for it when it came. George's death (after he got hit by a bus) was traumatic to watch. The discovery that the disfigured John Doe was actually George was awful, and it's a wrench thrown into an already dramatic episode! Izzie wakes up from surgery! Derek and Meredith get married on a post-it note! This episode might be one the most significant in the long, long history of Grey's. We'll never forget it as the first time the show made us realize that not even the doctors are safe from death.