Grey's Anatomy writer shares her inspiration for honoring COVID-19 victims
Grey's Anatomy is not shying away from tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to having both Meredith and Koracick contract the virus, this week's episode saw Bailey lose her mother to COVID, and in the final voiceover, Chandra Wilson began listing some real-life COVID victims.
Additionally, the show ended by listing people we've lost to the pandemic. Episode writer Zoanne Clack shared a statement about her decision to include those names. Read what Clack had to say below:
The inspiration for saying the names in the final voiceover was multifactorial. When my mom contracted and almost died of COVID, I was so mad that she might go down in history as one of the nameless, faceless ramifications of this disease. I was seeing how it was disproportionately affecting Black Americans, older Americans, and people who lived in assisted living. My mom was all of those. But she was also a teacher who has influenced many successful lives and she has an infectious laugh. That was the story I wanted people to remember, not that she was a victim of a pandemic. Fortunately, after a long and hard-fought 7-week battle, she is now a COVID survivor. So she doesn't have to be one among many. But there are so many who are among the many and who deserve to be more than numbers or statistics. The mom of another one of our writers, Barbara Driscoll, was 97 and had fought off numerous other infections and illnesses before she succumbed to COVID within one weekend. I'd be remiss to overlook the death of Brittany Bruno-Ringer, the 32-year-old nurse who took care of patient zero at my mom's memory care facility, who worked tirelessly without adequate PPE taking care of my mom and the other dementia residents. I watched helplessly as two parents from my "Caring for Parents with Alzheimer's" support group died within days of contracting the virus. "Jacob Lappin" from the voiceover is a mix of Jack Lappin (the great grandfather) and Mitchell Lubitsch (the lover of Broadway). "Wade Klein" is Warren Klein, the brother of one of the on-set medical producers on the show, who also happens to be a nurse. And "Dane Wilson" is Diane Wilson, an ICU nurse in Paris that passed during the first surge in Europe. I actually added her name onto another list that is constantly updated (and served as one of the inspirations for the end of the episode) which is on one of my medical websites called Medscape, titled: "In Memoriam, Health Care Workers Who Have Died of COVID-19." People from all over the world can submit names of colleagues, friends, and family members. As of July 1, the list included more than 1800 names from 64 countries ranging in age from 20 to 99. The last update was Dec. 3 so no telling how many names are on it now. The final inspirations came from (1) the powerful article in The New York Times that named the 100,000 lives we had lost to COVID at that point ("An Incalculable Loss," published at the end of May) and (2) the BLM movement where protestors held up the names of Black lives that are now resting in power. "Silence is compliance" became a battle call for me, and the framing of this episode was my reaction. It is my small contribution to lived lives full of substance not being forgotten.