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Nightmare Fuel / Grey's Anatomy

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Some of the injuries suffered—particularly those of the periodic disaster episodes—are truly horrifying. Then, there is the Season Six and Eight Finales, where all hell breaks loose.

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  • Burn patients in general. Burns are always horrifically painful, and even if they survive they will bear massive scarring that requires multiple surgeries to fix.
  • Any entry involving Lexie is extra nightmarish when you remember she has a photographic memory and will never forget what she just saw.

    Season 1 

     Season 2 
  • The entire bomb arc in "Its The End Of The Word/...As We Know It". A patient with a bomb in his chest shuts down the entire OR wing as the bomb squad tries to figure out what to do. And then when they do get the bomb out, it blows up anyway, vaporizing the officers and injuring Meredith. Oh, and Bailey's husband is being operated on right next door because he was in a car accident and Derek refuses to evacuate.

     Season 3 

     Season 4 
  • In "Let the Truth Sting", Alex sticks a needle behind a kid's eye to drain some spinal fluid that was leaking into his brain, shot in all its horrific squicky glory..
  • In "Crash Into Me", the scene leading up to Nick Hanscomb's blown artery, while Lexie is in the room. You know it's coming from minute one, but the tension is no less unbearable.
  • Meredith and Derek run a clinical trial to treat brain tumors in the last four episodes of the season. The treatment involves injecting live virus into the tumor to shrink it. Unfortunately, this tends to kill the patient...not that that stops people from volunteering. Brain tumors are just that horrific a way to die.
    • In "Freedom" a boyfriend-girlfriend pair of trial patients reassure each other that at least their deaths will be quick and painless. The girl mentions that one of the woman in their support group died in screaming agony...and later notes that they are the last of their support group, the others are all dead.
    • The trial is ultimately a success...despite the 92% death rate
  • In "Freedom" a young man gets stuck in cement. Its bad enough it took three hours to extract him, but once he gets to the hospital the doctors are genuinely worried about his survival, and spend several minutes running down every possible way this could kill him and trying to figure out how to save him.


     Season 5 
  • In "These Ties That Bind", a man get stuck in a garbage truck and crushed. The result is a legitimate human pretzel with his femur impaling his chest. Dr. Hunt, no stranger to the myriad of ways a human can be mangled, admits he has never seen anything like it.
    • Fortunately the patient is unconscious...until they put his leg from his chest, at which point he comes to and starts screaming . Oh, and its Sadie's first day!
  • The idea of George getting dragged under a bus down the road. That, and the fear Callie was put in: she is the only one who knows what to look for but is horrified at having to.
  • It's relatively subdued, but the wordless Dying Dream that Izzie and George share at the end of Now or Never. They're both dying at the same time, and meet up on their way out. Izzie enters the elevator wearing her prom dress. She looks apprehensive about something, but doesn't seem to know what. Then the elevator doors open, and George is standing there, dressed in a military uniform, with a stoic look on his face. Izzie gives him a confused smile, because she wasn't expecting him. But her smile quickly drops, and George gives her a meaningful look. In what seems to be her final moment, Izzie realizes what's happening, and the dream - and her consciousness - end with her visibly terrified. The impact of this is mitigated when Izzie is revived in the next episode, but it's still one Hell of a way to end a season.

     Season 6 
  • "State of Love and Trust": Bailey is operating on a patient and she wakes up. The poor woman was scared to death and freaking out any time Bailey went near her, and you could tell it affected her too.
  • In "Shinny Happy People", a young woman is apparently schizophrenic and tried to claw out her own eyes. If Alex hadn't gone to bat for her, she would have would in up Psych permanently. As it turns out, she had a tiny hole in her inner ear, and could hear everything in her own body.

     Season 7 
  • The physiological fallout of the hospital shooting is horrific
    • Lexie suffers massive Sleep Deprivation, leading to a mental breakdown. A trip the the Psych ward and a solid 50 hours of sleep cures that.
    • Alex is unable to enter elevators after nearly bleeding out in one.
    • Jackson repeatedly wakes up screaming from nightmares.
    • Derek starts speeding recklessly, routinely exceeding 120 miles per hour. Meredith is worried she'll get a call telling her Derek wrapped himself around a pole, and the only reason Derek keeps his license is the sheer number of police officers he has put back together.
    • Cristina has perhaps the worst PTSD of them all. She can't sleep by herself, can barely operate, and a tray falling in the OR sends her into a full-blown PTSD episode lying on the floorthat Meredith has to talk her out of. She ends up quitting the program for several episodes, realizing that she can't deal with surgery.
    • Richard Webber has constant nightmares and is going to multiple AA meetings a day to avoid a relapse.
  • In "With You I'm Born Again", Dr. Shepherd, Sloan, et al. need to split a teenager's lower face so they can access a large bony tumor located at the base of the kid's skull and upper spinal chord. Even Callie is disturbed by how much pain would be caused by breaking the jaw, which is only part of the horrific procedure. Meredith outright calls it decapitation.
    Owen: I've seen mortar fire do less damage.
  • "Superfreak": The patient of the week has a particularly nasty strain of HPV that results in huge warts all over him. His face is horrific and his hands are giant claws. Lexie screams in horror at the sight. And then in the OR, a spider crawls out of a wart.
  • "Unaccompanied Minor" has the only thing worse than a flood of mangled victims from a major incident: No victims from a major incident. Because they all died. There is one survivor of the plane crash.

     Season 8 
  • The "Dark Was the Night/ Suddenly" two-parter is one of the most unrelentingly bleak episodes ever, without even the heroism of the hospital shooting.
    • Henry is taken to surgery after he starts coughing up blood. Then it turns out his tumor has destroyed his pulmonary artery and he can't be saved.
    • Callie's patient suffers massive heart damage from a loose screw that starts ripping her heart apart.
    • Sent to another hospital to pick up a baby, the ambulance carrying Alex and Meredith breaks down on a blind curve and is hit. Said crash leaves multiple victims scattered across the road, one of whom dies on the spot.
    • In the most horrific case of Promoted to Parent possible, Lily watches grandmother die in the road, her mother die in the ER, then watches her father code multiple times. Just hours after becoming an adult, she signs the papers to remove her father from life support before informing her younger siblings.
  • Being Kepner trying to assist in surgery when you have Cristina monotonously reciting the details of a fatal surgery over and over. Morbid? How about when it's at the request of the dead patient's widow, who is leading the surgery? It's chilling, especially with how blasé Teddy is about hearing it.
  • "The Girl With No Name''': The Patient of the Week is an eighteen year old girl who was kidnapped twelve years ago. First Meredith notices deep cuff marks on her wrists and ankles. Then Teddy notes that she has seen her sort of injuries Iraq, on torture victims.
    • The girl, Holly, is so inured to the horrors she experienced she relates everything in a monotone that makes everything worse.

     Season 9 
  • Cristina's description of her, Meredith, Derek, Mark and Arizona's time in the woods especially the part about the animals fighting over Lexie's corpse. shudder
  • After the plane crash when the doctors are all at Boise and need to be taken to Seattle it's explicitly stated that whilst a ground transfer would be best for Meredith, Cristina, and Derek (and Lexie), because of Mark and Arizona's conditions they need to be airlifted. Imagine being Callie on the receiving end of that news, especially with Sofia.
    • Callie's shutdown reaction when Karev bursts into the OR to announce that her seemingly fit wife just crashed and is well on her way to clinical death. And she couldn't move because she was stitching the nerves in Derek's hand. Basically Callie in S09E02 goes through Adult Fear and BSODs more than one person should be able to handle without nightmares.


     Other/unsorted seasons 
  • Cristina describing the death of her father to Hunt, her trying to hold his chest closed to slow the bleeding and she felt the moment he died when his heart stopped and she was only nine when it happened.
  • Derek's And I Must Scream moment, when he's fully aware of the doctors' clumsy attempts to save him but unable to correct their mistakes — he all but flat-out says that he could have saved himself if he was somehow his own doctor. Given that he actually does die and it's not one of the show's classic fake-outs or Disney Deaths, it's pretty chilling, particularly when you add in the whole wife and two — that is, three — kids thing.
  • The woman that fell in razor wire. if that's not bad enough she woke up in the trauma room, by god her screams and the way she fruitlessly to escape only to injure herself more, and her screams by god, I can sometimes hear them.


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