“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” focused on astronaut, excuse me, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Callie Torres and an unexpected, high-profile malpractice suit. The patient: former Olympic gold-medalist snowboarder and current double amputee Travis Reed, who’d come back to Grey Sloan in search of an experimental new hip. Yang had performed her very first solo valve replacement on Travis when she was a second-year resident. “His heart is my Mona Lisa,” she claimed. Cristina? Proud? Unheard of!
The ortho goddess hesitated to build Travis a new hip — she’d never attempted the Petersen resurfacing hip joint before and had yet to receive the extra research data she’d requested from Germany. But Travis didn’t want to wait — you can’t win a gold with arthritis, and the Olympic trials were coming up. “You’re the first orthopedic surgeon to grow cartilage out of nothing,” he reminded Callie during their initial meeting. “The reason we are who we are is because we’re not scared of firsts.”
The hip part of the surgery went fine (or so she thought), but as Callie and Intern Jo were about to close him up, Travis developed a pulmonary embolus — his oxygen level went down, his heart rate spiked, and he might have had a clot in his lungs. This is about the time, according to Callie’s lawyer, when jury members and possibly recap-readers’ eyes will glaze over. Juries don’t like big words, you see. They only respond well to the things they know, like pantyhose, or wedding rings. Travis’ prosecutor had barely gotten through freshman biology, so naturally they loved him.
Travis had returned to the hospital days later with a nasty infection at the incision site on his hip — an infection the prosecution attributed to a sponge Callie had deliberately left behind — and she’d do it again! — during surgery in an attempt to get Travis sewn back up. It’s so easy to blame the sponge. Everyman Prosecutor had once encountered a sponge, and it was disgusting.
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