9 Times Grey's Anatomy Made Getting Fired Seem Like a Rite of Passage
At this point, getting fired is a rite of passage on Grey's Anatomy. It seems like every season, someone will get dismissed for negligence, disobedience, or plain incompetence. The season 15 finale saw not one, not two, but three doctors getting fired on the spot. With her hands tied, Dr. Bailey fired Alex, Meredith, and Richard for being in the know about the insurance fraud debacle. But we doubt that anyone will leave permanently. In fact, we're 90 percent sure that they're going to be fine, even if season 16 takes a little Grey Is the New Black spin.
It's not a new phenomenon for Grey's Anatomy characters to get fired . . . then come back mere episodes later. In fact, getting axed and coming back stronger is an arc of sorts for Grey Sloan surgeons. From Meredith to April, here's every time someone was fired — or was very nearly fired — on Grey's Anatomy but came back anyway.
After tampering with Derek's Alzheimer's trial, Meredith gets fired at the very beginning of season eight. And, because it's Grey's Anatomy, she gets fired amid trying to adopt Zola . . . which prompts her to essentially kidnap Zola to get away from Social Services. But one episode later, Richard takes the fall for Meredith, telling Derek that she was just trying to help his wife. Of course, Meredith wasn't going to get fired, given that she's the main character and all.
Well, only in the world of Grey's Anatomy can you almost get convicted for a felony and still become chief later on. At the beginning of season 13, Alex gets in seriously hot water for assaulting DeLuca (though, we've seen Owen and Derek throw punches at people before, just saying). With his impending trial, Dr. Bailey suspended Alex and offered him work in the clinic. After DeLuca drops his charges, Bailey reinstates him. As with Ben's case (read ahead), there's no technical firing here, but the situation is pretty comparable to the medical fraud case that capped off season 15.
Richard nearly gets fired after his drinking relapses in season six. Given the option between going to rehab and early retirement, he chooses rehab. Even when he's back as chief, poor Richard can't catch a break. He later takes the fall for Meredith's Alzheimer's trial tampering and steps down as chief again, later returning as a general surgeon and the director of the residency program.
April's been fired not once, but twice. She received the ax in season six along with Izzie during the merger after making a fatal mistake, but Derek rehired her because he was impressed with her as a surgeon. In season eight, Owen fires her after she fails her boards, but eventually rehires her as an attending, even though she's not board certified. Sadly, she eventually leaves by her own volition in season 14.
In early season four, Callie gets fired from her gig as chief resident when Richard figures out that Miranda was doing her work. She's not kicked out of Seattle Grace, though. Callie is eventually glad that it frees up her time to work on actual surgeries.
After surviving the worst of her cancer, Izzie gets fired during the Mercy West merger in season six, Alex and other doctors believing that it was too soon for her to work. Izzie leaves Seattle, believing that Alex had screwed her over. She returns in the middle of the season, much to everyone's surprise. Derek more or less promises to hire her back if he's chief (and he would be if Richard is let go), but Izzie disappears after Alex tells her that he deserves better. But who knows? Even though Katherine Heigl left the show on a not-so-subtle note, we're not ruling out Izzie's return.
We should also mention that Izzie underwent probation for cutting the LVAD wire, which is probably a fireable offense at any other hospital. Izzie gets off of it after helping a patient during the ferry disaster.
In season 14, Richard fires Vik after he tries to treat patients while high. After he threatens a lawsuit on the hospital, Dr. Bailey hires him back, promising to make him one of the best surgeons if he followed her lead. (He fails.) But briefly after Vik comes back, Alex, now interim chief, fires him again. Vik had ignored a patient with a nosebleed, which ultimately led to their death.
At the end of season 10, Richard fires Leah after noticing that she's a good doctor but lacking surgical skills. In season 13, Leah returns to Grey Sloan, rehired after proving herself to be excellent at another hospital. Her arc in season 13 proves to be short-lived, as she's not mentioned again after a few episodes in.
Ben doesn't technically get fired, but he does face a pretty serious suspension after performing unsupervised surgeries that led to the deaths of two patients in season 12. This leads to a lot of tension between him and Miranda, who's not only his boss but the chief of surgery. His wife eventually lifts the suspension in order for him to help April deliver her baby. A risk taker, Ben has changed career paths and now works as a firefighter.