So, I'm starting a new thing. Since I love Grey's Anatomy so much, (and I watch it all the time anyway) I'm going to share my thoughts on disability representation in whatever episode I watch. Today, in honor of the upcoming holidays, I watched Holidaze.
In this episode, 6-year-old Nicholas Jacobson is admitted to the ER with a persistent severe nosebleed caused by an inoperable AVM. Derek (neurosurgeon extraordinaire) operates initially and then discovers he cannot access the AVM to treat it appropriately because the hospital doesn't have the equipment for a nasal cavity that small.
At first, Derek is defeated, but not down and out for long. Soon he, pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins and plastic surgeon Mark Sloan ask Chief Webber for their Christmas bonuses. They plan to use them to fund the teeny tiny equipment themselves.
But there's a problem. There are no Christmas bonuses this year.
There is a brief pause before Derek says, "I write a check. How much?" Arizona quickly agrees to split the amount and Mark follows suit, each of them covering a third of the massive expense out of their own pockets. Derek, Arizona and Mark not only fund the equipment, it's also up to them to make it, as they are on a serious time crunch. (Nicholas has been readmitted with another uncontrollable nosebleed and is only hanging on because Arizona is transfusing him until all is ready.
Nicholas nearly has to be intubated, but the equipment is ready just in time and instead they bag him until he gets to the OR, where Derek is waiting to clip the AVM. Below is video of that amazing moment:
I love this storyline, and the representation here, because it shows how surgeons go above and beyond to save a life. Simply letting Nicholas go home and bleed out is not an option. They fight for him. This particular aspect of disability representation is very significant, and personal to me. It matters that the doctors didn't throw in the towel. It matters that they fought for this little boy.
I'm normally such a stickler for realism, and I'd hazard to guess there are aspects of this storyline that weren't particularly realistic, but I don't care. I care that they didn't stop fighting for a kid when all seemed hopeless.
I care that saving his life was the top priority of these doctors.