On their death bed, nobody wishes they'd worked more. That's the traught little phrase people tried out when they want to play hookey, or spend too much money, or shame working parents for missing their kids' soccer game for a board meeting. On your death bed, no one wishes they'd worked more. Tell that to the people who love their work. It's not about whether you spend your life in a boardroom, your bedroom, or a beach with a mai tai in Maui, when you look back on your life, the only thing that matters is: Did you spend it doing what you love, with the people you love? Were you happy? Did you make the most of this beautiful, terrifying, messed up life? Did you let go of all the things that held you back? So you can hold on to what matters most.

(Don't Fear) the Reaper is the eleventh episode of the fourteenth season and the 304th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

The stress of managing the hospital and coming to terms with Ben’s decision to become a Seattle firefighter pushes Bailey to her limits.

Full SummaryEdit

A young Bailey is riding her bike as her mother calls her from the porch.

Bailey and Ben are driving Tuck to school. Bailey snaps a quick photo of him because she thinks he looks good with his bowtie. He has a history presentation, and he's well-prepared. That's the recipe for success. He has a fart attack app to ruin another kid's competition, but Ben points out that doesn't make him any better. Bailey tells Tuck his dad's picking him up after school. As soon as Tuck gets out of the car, Bailey's happy demeanor vanishes.

Still in the car, Ben tells Bailey he has to climb 60 flights of stairs with his gear on in 98° heat. Bailey tells him no. She doesn't want to hear about his day since it's not cute. She takes a pill for indigestion. Ben asks how long they are going to do this, but she tells him to pull over. She has a meeting at Seattle Pres. He wants to say he'll see her later, but she just gets out and walks away. A frustrated Ben drives off.

Bailey enters the ER, where Mr. Nelligan is trying to get admitted for a pre-clot, which is not a thing. Bailey then introduces herself to the desk nurse and says she's having a heart attack.

Bailey has been admitted. Stuart, an intern, returns with her tests and says it's not a heart attack. He's sure she knows people can get it confused with indigestion or reflux. She demands to see her EKG, which looks normal. She then wants a 15-lead EKG as they might be missing a posterior infarct. She instructs Stuart on where to put the leads. As soon as they're applied, he runs the EKG. It still looks fine. He offers to take a family history while they wait for the cardiac enzymes. Instead, she asks him to bring whomever is in charge.

A worried Elena Bailey is calling out for her daughter. Young Bailey comes running. The street lights are on and they agreed Bailey had to be in the house before the first flicker. Bailey apologizes, but she was reading in a tree. Elena says she can also read on the porch swing, where she can see her.

Bailey's on the phone with Richard. She says she's sick and updates him on her patients. Dr. Maxwell is paged to the ER. Bailey covers her phone in order to hide it from Richard. He asks if she's okay, but she brushes it off.

As she hangs up, she's greeted by Chief of Surgery Larry Maxwell, who compliments her on her hospital and welcomes her to his hospital. She asks if he always talks like this to women who are having a heart attack. He doesn't, and she's not having one according to the EKG and the rapid troponin test. They are running a full cardiac enzyme panel for good measure, but he trusts it will be normal. She says she's not all good. She's nauseous and she has heartburn. He asks about stress in her life. She won't allow him to brush it off as a woman unable to handle all her feelings. This is not anxiety. He repeats the question. She thinks back to all the recent stress in her life. She demands a full cardiac workup.

The woman in the bed next to hers asks Bailey what she's in for. She replies heart attack. She's still working on her phone. Morgan points out no wonder she's having a heart attack. Bailey says her work doesn't stop just because the doctors are taking their sweet time. Morgan says her work ethic drove her parents crazy. Bailey asks what she's in for. She broke her femur and road rash from a motorcycle accident. She's a frequent flyer. Bailey thinks life is a gift so she doesn't speed down mountain roads. Morgan says she was wearing a helmet, and she did way more reckless things. Bailey has zero interest in that stuff. Morgan thinks it's human nature to be a little bit reckless.

Flashback. Bailey crashes her bike and her mother comes rushing out of the house. She asks why Bailey wasn't riding with her training wheels. Bailey says because she's in junior high and the other kids pick on her. They also pick on her for wearing highwaters. Elena says they don't need her tripping and busting her head. Bailey says she knows how to walk, but Elena takes her inside to clean up her scraped elbow.

Maxwell is with Bailey and points out she seems agitated. Morgan cuts in and says that happens when you're having a heart attack and no one helps you. Maxwell asks about diet and exercise. Bailey says her levels were high a couple of years back, but she got them under control and they have been stable ever since. Bailey reminds him that heart attacks look different in women than in men. She want a stress test. Maxwell ignores her request and asks about her meds. She replies only statins and antidepressants to manage her OCD. She does have OCD, but it's not her story. It's just one piece and if he just focuses on that, then she won't live long enough to finish the rest of her story. She needs the cardiac stress test. Maxwell insists she doesn't need it. She asks for a second opinion. She refuses to leave the hospital since she might drop dead in the parking lot.

Dr. Gregory comes up to Bailey's bed. She's been waiting for half an hour, but he's not a cardiologist. He's a psychiatrist. Bailey does her utter best to stay calm.

Maggie gets a call from Bailey. She asks Maggie to come to the ER at Seattle Pres. She asks Maggie to keep it quiet. Maggie will be right there. Bailey hangs up as Gregory brings up her home life. She talks about Ben becoming a firefighter. Gregory says that's not easy, but she says that's not the reason she's having a heart attack. Gregory asks if that's why he's not here. Bailey says she's losing heart muscle by the second. At the very least, he should acknowledge that she is a doctor. Gregory then reads the situation aloud, including limited coping skills and the lack of support system, and asks what she would think of the situation if she were the doctor here. Bailey says 63% of women who die from heart attacks had no previous symptoms and women of color are at a far greater risk, so if she were consulting, she'd take those statistics into consideration. And she does have a support system and a beautiful child, whom she's going to call now to ask how his presentation went.

Teenage Bailey comes rushing out of her house. She got accepted into Wellesley. Her father happily congratulates her, but her mother doesn't like that she'll be more than 6 hours away. Bailey is too excited because she's going to a school of the greats. Bailey asks her mother to be happy for her for once, but Elena can't bring herself to do so.

Bailey is happy to hear that Tuck's presentation went really well. She tells him she's so proud of him. It's time for him to go back to class. She reminds him to be good to his dad this weekend and hangs up. She starts crying and then hears gasping in the next bed. She pulls the curtain aside and finds Morgan choking. She calls for help.

Maggie and Richard arrive at the Seattle Pres ER simultaneously. They both claim they are here for another doctor or patient, but have to admit to the desk nurse that they are both here for Bailey. The nurse refuses to share patient information. Maggie claims Bailey is her mother and that Richard is Bailey's husband. The nurse directs them to bed 3. They find Bailey's bed empty, as Bailey herself is performing CPR on a coding Morgan. The Seattle Pres staff takes over. They manage to get her back. Bailey is happy to see Maggie and Richard, but she soon collapses.

Bailey is being taken care of by Maggie and Richard. She wonders how Richard found out if Maggie didn't tell him. He says he pieced it together when overheard Maxwell being paged as well as due the fact that Bailey has never taken a sick day. Maxwell comes over and Maggie introduces herself, adding that she's saving his patient's life. She shows him the EKG, which now clearly shows an MI. Maxwell defends himself. Richard says Maggie needs to Bailey to the cath lab to open up the blockage. Maxwell says she doesn't have privileges here and takes Bailey to do it himself.

Maxwell is working on Bailey in the cath lab. Bailey wonders why men only listen to women after they have done something wrong. Maxwell has access to the LAD. Bailey says Han and Luke could have avoided a lot of misery if they had listened to Leia. Maxwell finishes the procedure and tells Bailey she's welcome.

Maggie is pacing in the waiting room. She knows Bailey can't be stopped. Maggie checked the early labs and the levels indicated that this hasn't been going on for a while. Richard says long enough for them to could have noticed. They are always running around taking care of everyone else, maybe they are not checking in on each other enough. Maggie wonders where Ben is. Richard says he'd be here if Bailey wanted him here. Richard is worried. He remembers his considerable history with Bailey.

Maggie and Richard are back with Bailey in the CCU. The procedure went well. They stented her LAD. They want to transfer her to Grey Sloan as soon as possible. Bailey refuses since people will make it too big a deal. Bailey asks Maggie about her sick days. Maggie has a perfect attendance record. Bailey says she and Maggie didn't get to where they are by calling in sick or admitting weakness. Bailey says it was all "hail the conquering hero" when Richard returned after being electrocuted. This is not a battle he's ever had to fight. It's taken Bailey way too long to feel tall at the hospital. Maggie asks Bailey really wants to keep this a secret from Ben.

Teenage Bailey and her father are sitting on the front porch. He explains her mother is just trying to protect her rather than hold her back. He confesses they lost Bailey's sister Danielle to SIDS at the age of 2 months. They felt helpless. It took him a long time to understand it wasn't their fault and to forgive himself, but Elena never could. She promised herself she wouldn't let anything happen to Bailey. Elena has to live with the fear of losing Bailey every day.

Bailey decides no calling Ben or transferring her. She'll rest and be back to work by tomorrow. She won't be kicked out of the contest. Shortly after, her pressure drops. Maggie calls for an intra-aortic balloon pump tray. Richard has Maxwell paged and gives Bailey an oxygen mask.

Maxwell is inserting the IABP. Maggie says they could have avoided all this if he had acted before Bailey was having the actual heart attack. He claims he just followed protocol. She asks if he did a cardiac stress test. If he had, he would've seen this long before it became emergent. Now, the stent has failed and they need to get her up to the OR as soon as possible. As Richard attempts to keep Bailey calm, Maxwell tells a nurse to get the OR ready for a sternotomy. Maggie openly questions his decision. Opening her up is unnecessary. They can do the graft by a keyhole procedure. She then realizes he doesn't know how. She lists his faulty approach that led to this point and asks him to step aside and give her privileges. He doubts. Richard convinces him by bringing up their long history. Maxwell then agrees, but he insists on being present at all times.

Bailey and her mother are loading up the car to go to college. Her mother still wants her to choose another profession because being a surgeon comes with a lot of stress. She doesn't want Bailey to kill herself driving home after a 100-hour week. That's no way to live. Bailey blurts out she's not Danielle. She apologizes, but surgery makes her happy and she needs her mother to get happy for her. She tells her mother to look at the Mandy Bailey she raised. She's not afraid. She wants to live the life that she knows she's supposed to live.

Right before being put under in the OR, Bailey asks Maggie to call Ben. She needs her husband.

Ben is buying hot dogs on the street when he gets the call from Webber. He drops the hot dogs and runs off.

Maggie is walking Maxwell through the procedure. He points out he's not an intern. She calls him infuriating. He's arrogant and Bailey deserves better. He'd rather cut someone open stem to stern than learn something new. Maggie is grateful that Bailey stood up for herself. She's also furious that Bailey even had to. Bailey goes into V-fib. Maggie asks for the internal paddles and shocks Bailey's heart.

Ben is still running, ignoring a red light.

He finally arrives at the hospital and meets with Richard in the waiting room. Richard updates him. They don't know how much damage there is yet. Ben is frustrated. Bailey said it was just indigestion.

Ben's trying to relax by reading, but the crossword puzzle in the magazine reminds him of his proposal to Bailey. Richard sits down with him with a cup of coffee. Richard says Bailey is one the most stubborn women he knows, but she's also the strongest person he knows. Richard tells Ben that this feeling he has now, the not knowing that's eating his insides, that's what he's asking of Bailey every time he walks out the door. Catherine arrives with good food and drinks.

Richard walks up to Morgan's bed. He introduces himself as Bailey's friend. Bailey will want to know how she's doing. Morgan says she feels like she got charged by a rhino, which actually happened to her once. Morgan understands that Bailey saved her life. She thinks Bailey needs to work on that work addiction of hers. Richard agrees it's bad for the heart. Morgan asks how Bailey is doing.

Bailey wakes up, which relieves Maggie. She's looking good. Maggie bypassed the LAD with a graft, so Bailey will be back to work in no time. Bailey thanks her. She then sees Ben. Maggie gives them some space. Ben thought he lost Bailey. She tells him not a chance. Ben tells Bailey to call him when something happens. He has called his boss at the fire station to say that he's done. Bailey tells Ben to call him back. Ben being a firefighter terrifies her, but life is terrifying. Life is too precious to waste doing anything less than what makes you happy. Ben gets to be happy. She just wants him to promise one thing. He has to build her a fancy treehouse she can read in. A girl needs some peace to read a good book.

With Richard and Ben sitting on her bed, Bailey calls her mother. Elena talks about acquaintances being robbed on their road trip to Memphis. Bailey tells her she had a heart attack. She admits it was scary, but she's okay now. She had surgery and she's going to be okay. Elena knows she is, because she's her Mandy.

Ben and Bailey are lying in bed in a private room. He takes her hand and kisses it. She smiles.


  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Maggie Pierce
  • Ben Warren
  • Catherine Avery
  • Morgan
  • William Bailey
  • Larry Maxwell
  • Mr. Nelligan
  • Rich Gregory
  • Elena Bailey
  • Collegiate Bailey
  • Preteen Bailey
  • Young Bailey
  • Tuck Jones
  • Nurse Julia Udell
  • Intern Stuart
  • Doctor
  • Hot Dog Vendor

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Miranda BaileyEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Myocardial infarction
  • Treatment:
    • Cardiac catheterization
    • Angioplasty
    • Stent
    • Intra-aortic balloon pump
    • Keyhole CABG

Bailey went to the ER at Seattle Pres believing she was having a heart attack. When her first EKG didn't show anything, she asked for a 15-lead EKG. That also showed nothing, so she asked for someone other than an intern. Dr. Maxwell came to see her, but believed all the tests would be clear. She asked for a cardiac stress test and asked for a second opinion when Maxwell refused. Instead of getting her another cardiothoracic surgeon, he sent a psychiatrist, believing her symptoms were not physical, but mental. She continued to defend herself. Later, after helping save the life of the woman in the bed next to her, Bailey collapsed. The new EKG showed that she was having a heart attack. They took her for a catheterization and placed a stent. After that, she coded again, so they took her to the OR. When Maggie learned Maxwell couldn't do a keyhole CABG, she took over and did it herself.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Broken femur
    • Road rash
    • Clot
  • Treatment:
    • Casting

Morgan was in a motorcycle accident and broke her femur and got road rash. She initially appeared stable, but later threw a clot and coded. Bailey was able to save her life.


Song Performer Scene
"I Won't Fall" Jillian Edwards
  • Young Bailey rides her bike outside and her mother calls her inside.
  • Bailey, Ben, and Tuck are in the car. They drop Tuck off at school.
  • Once Tuck is out of the car, Ben and Bailey fall silent.
"Praying" Kesha
  • Ben visits Bailey in her hospital room.
  • Ben says he quit his firefighter training and she says to call him back and go back to it.
  • She wants him to be happy and asks him to build her a tree house to read in.
  • Bailey calls her mother.
  • Bailey tells her mom what happened.
  • Ben and Bailey lie in her hospital bed together.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy 14x11 Promo "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" (HD) Season 14 Episode 11 Promo

Grey's Anatomy 14x11 Promo "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" (HD) Season 14 Episode 11 Promo


Episode StillsEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit


Bailey: My name is Dr. Miranda Bailey. I am Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial...
Julia: Surgery is upstairs on four.
Bailey: Okay, interrupt me again, I'm coming over that counter. My name is Miranda Bailey. I am Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial, and I believe that I am having a heart attack.

Bailey: I am a sci-fi-loving African-American woman in her 40s with a stubborn husband, a beautiful son, and no pets because they smell like feet. And I have a big job where I do big, lifesaving, miracle-working things where I lead others so that they can do their big, lifesaving, miracle-working thing. And yes, I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. I am not ashamed of that. But it's not my story. It's just one piece. And if you continue to look at just that one piece if you check the "mental illness" box and refuse to look at anything else then I'm not gonna live long enough to finish the rest of my story.

Rich: If you'll humor me, I'd like to ask you for a consult. I have a patient, a woman who has a big job with big responsibilities. Manages life-and-death scenarios on the daily. She also has a history of mental illness. And I have assessed limited coping skills. I see no data to support her self-diagnosis despite repeated tests. And on top of that, I see no support system in place. No friends or family in sight. Dr. Bailey, if you were this woman's doctor and you were looking at her chart, what would you think?
Bailey: 63% of women who die suddenly from coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms, and women of color are at a far greater risk. So if I were consulting on the patient your describe, I would take into consideration statistics that would never even occur to people who look like you. And I do have a support system. And a beautiful child who had a history presentation this morning and who is now on his mid-morning break. So if you'll excuse me, we're done here.

Richard: Just don't mention that you called her your mother.
Maggie: No, she had me very, very young.

Catherine: Wagyu beef brisket sandwiches. Garlic mashed potatoes. Oh, I will not have you drinking that swill.
Ben: I can't believe you made all this.
Catherine: Child, please. I had my driver pick it up. Well, come on, fellas. Feed your faces.

Ben: Talked to my boss down at the fire station. Told him I'm done. I'm done, Miranda.
Bailey: Benjamin Warren. Call him back.
Ben: I'm sorry?
Bailey: You fighting fires terrifies me. Life is terrifying. But I could die of a heart attack and you could die crossing the street tomorrow. Life is too precious to waste doing anything less than what makes us happy. You get to be happy. Just promise me one thing.
Ben: Anything.
Bailey: Build me a tree house.
Ben: I'm guessing those pain meds are working.
Bailey: Steal yourself one of those fancy fireman's ladders and build me a tree house I can read in. A girl needs some peace to read a good book.

Bailey: I'm hurt, Mom. I got hurt. I had a heart attack. And it was scary. But I'm okay. I had surgery. And I'm going to be okay.
Elena: I know. I know you are. You are my Mandy.

See AlsoEdit

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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