Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

When I was a kid, I would get these headaches, and I went to the doctor, and they said that I needed glasses. I get the glasses, and I put them on, and I'm in the car on the way home, and suddenly I yell. Because the big green blobs that I had been staring at my whole life, they weren't big green blobs. They were leaves on trees. And I didn’t even know I was missing the leaves. I didn't even know that leaves existed, and then...leaves! You are glasses.
Erica Hahn to Callie Torres

Erica Hahn is a cardiothoracic surgeon who briefly worked at Seattle Grace Hospital and dated another employee, Callie Torres. She previously worked at Seattle Presbyterian Hospital and attended Johns Hopkins Medical School where she started a fierce rivalry with Preston Burke.


Early Life[]

When Erica was a child, she had continuous headaches, she went to the doctors and was told she needed glasses. It made no sense to her but on the car journey home, she shrieked because the little green blobs she had been seeing all her life were actually leaves, and she didn't even know she was missing them.

Fight Over Donor Heart[]

When Denny Duquette needed a heart transplant, Burke and Alex came to Seattle Presbyterian, where there were two donors, but their donor flatlined and went to Erica's donor, trying to get the heart for Denny. When Burke called Izzie to see if Denny is on top of the transplant list, Izzie lied and said he was getting worse, but needed the labs to prove it and cut Denny's LVAD wire.[1] When Burke was shot, Erica was brought in to perform the heart transplant procedure.[2]

Harold O'Malley's Surgery[]

Harold O'Malley had a leaking aortic valve, and George originally wanted Burke to perform the procedure since he thought Burke was the best.[3] However, after becoming suspicious about Burke's hand, he wanted Erica to do the procedure. Despite this, his parents chose to have Burke do the procedure.[4]

Transfer to Seattle Grace[]

Erica returned to Seattle Grace once again to perform a heart transplant on a father with his brain dead daughter's heart, as Burke wasn't around to do it anymore. After performing the heart transplant, she accused Cristina of having slept her way to the top. Cristina in return called Hahn unprofessional and inappropriate. Erica smirked and then revealed she had just agreed to become the new Head of Cardiothorcic Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital.[5]

On her first day, Erica acquired the nickname “The New Burke" and met the handsome duo Derek and Mark, who had a gentlemen's evening planned with the Chief. When her patient, who turned out to be allergic to general anesthetia, required a risky open heart surgery, Richard called her in to talk through the surgery that Cristina had suggested to work around the patient's allergy. Hahn figured out the other male attendings didn't have to do this prior to a risky surgery and she called out Richard for being sexist, including the fact that female attendings weren't invited to his gentlemen's evening. She left to go prep for the surgery and denied Cristina the chance to scrub in, choosing Izzie over her. The surgery went well, and Erica then joined the three male attendings at the gentlemen's evening, to which Richard had invited her.[6]

After some time at the hospital, Hahn changed the schedule in order not to have Cristina on her service and took Meredith off Mark's service. She took the case of the woman whom Cristina saved in the ER and then threw Cristina off the case so Meredith could operate with her. She took Mark's OR to do the surgery. Unbeknownst to Erica, her confident behavior and her surgical skill and finesse sparked Mark's interest.[7]

Cristina continued to try to impress Erica, but she only grew more annoyed with Cristina's desperate attempts and took a liking to Izzie. Out of necessity, she did page Cristina once to get scans. Throughout the day, she noticed all the attention Mark got because of his looks, but Erica herself remained uninterested.[8]

On the day of the ambulance crash, Hahn had a busy day dividing her time between her patient and a wounded paramedic. She happily let Cristina off her service per Bailey's request and replaced her with Izzie. Erica scrubbed in with Mark, who continued to flirt with her and asked her to meet for drinks, but she preferred to focus on the patient and ignored his moves on her.[9]

Due to being busy, Hahn failed to check the grafts of one of her patients, which resulted in a complication. Erica really beat herself up over it and Mark remarked she was as unkind to herself as she was to others. While trying to fix the complication, Erica kept on reminding herself that her patient had four children and she did everything she could, managing to save the patient. At the end of the day, she sat down with Callie and Mark and asked to get that drink together after all. Callie realized she needed a friend and joined them. Erica didn't even mind if Mark would be flirting with her, and they took off for Joe's.[10]

Romantic Involvement with Callie[]

That night out sparked a friendship between Erica and Callie. They really had fun and Erica outdrank Callie and beat her at darts, which made them agree to be on a first-name basis. They bonded over generally not being a people person, but Erica resented Mark, calling him a crass ape of a man when he tried to flirt with her again. However, at the end of the day, she ran into Mark and revealed to him that he was too pretty. They probably would be together if they weren't colleagues, but Erica was convinced she needed to let who she is outside of the hospital. She and Callie then left together to go drink at Joe's.[11]

They went out together multiple times after that and hung out together frequently, building a true friendship. One time it got so late that they came into the hospital the next morning straight from the bar. Erica was operating on one patient and had Cristina deliver her hourly updates on another, all the while Cristina was trying to win a surgical contest. Hahn offered her to observe as she put in a new valve and Cristina abandoned the contest in favor of her education. That evening, Cristina came home to Callie and Erica drinking at their apartment. Cristina mentioned she was honored to have Hahn visit, but Hahn made it clear she was disturbing the conversation, making Cristina hide herself in her bedroom.[12] Their love was sparked in an elevator when Hahn kissed Callie after trying to prove Mark would be intimidated by their relationship in bed.


Erica and Callie got into a fight about what to do with Izzie Stevens after Erica found out Izzie stole the heart for Denny from one of Erica's patients. She wanted to report Izzie, but Callie was against it. Erica left the hospital parking lot and quit her job abruptly.[13]


Erica Hahn presents herself as a confident woman, generally focused on her work and not afraid to speak her mind when she sees it right.

Despite her tough approach with her colleagues, Hahn generally has a very good bedside manner and looks out for her patients' welfare to a great extent.



Callie Torres[]

Erica and Callie kiss.

When Dr. Hahn took up a permanent position at Seattle Grace Hospital, one of the first things she said to Cristina was "I date men" (believing that Cristina got ahead by sleeping with her superiors). Mark Sloan continually flirted with her but although they were friends, she insisted that he only wanted her because he couldn't have her, though admitting that they might have had a chance if they didn't work together.

After making a friend of Callie Torres and getting more involved personally, onlookers became suspicious of a bit more to their relationship. Addison Montgomery plants the seed in Callie's head that the two might be lovers, but when confronted, they both laugh it off, though the idea lingers. Following Mark Sloan's persistent, (if only half-joking) suggestions of starting a threesome, Erica asks Mark whether the idea of her and Callie in a relationship would be intimidating to him, and kisses her in the elevator to prove it. A conflicted Callie can't get Erica out of her head, and the two finally confront their feelings and uneasiness about the "new territory", and begin to date. Though both share feelings for each other, Callie and Erica react to the blossoming relationship in different ways. While Callie is unsure what the relationship means for her and her sexuality (still enjoying her sex life with men), after a few nights spent with Callie, Erica realizes that she must be gay, though she admits to relationships with men in the past. For Callie, Erica's revelation makes her nervous and sends her running to Sloan for sex, twice in one day, where she finds the chemistry just as good. Though Callie's bisexuality is not necessarily a failure to commit, Erica is hurt by what she sees as a "grey area" in the relationship where she would rather have straight answers. She claims "you can't be kind of a lesbian" and walks away from Callie and Seattle Grace, having lost her only personal ally.


Early in her time at Seattle Grace, when word was being passed of a "Gentleman's evening" planned by the Chief of Surgery to which only the male attendings were invited, Dr. Hahn grilled Dr. Webber on the lack of professionalism of such an event, likening it to the not-so-distant era of racial discrimination. Later in the evening, she crashed their party and beat them at monopoly. Though generally slow to make friends, Erica befriended Callie, seeing in her a strong woman and also another loner. At roughly the same time, she became friends with Mark and Addison when Addison came to visit (although she still had a slight dislike for Mark).


Cristina Yang[]

She had a rough relationship with Cristina Yang, consistently denying her the privilege of sucking up, and making her fight her way to stay on the cardio program. Her first day at Seattle Grace, Erica made it clear that personal and professional life would be separate things, telling Cristina "if you had the chops in the operating room, you wouldn't need to impress in the bedroom", referencing Cristina's tendency to have relationships with her former teachers. This harsh attitude didn't go unnoticed. Miranda Bailey, noting Hahn's attitude towards Cristina, advised her to focus on a new surgical specialty (an act of 'reverse psychology' in that by suggesting that she choose something else, Cristina would be more determined to stick with cardio and resist Hahn's hostility).  During her brief visit, Addison witnessed some of Hahn's hostility and asked why she was so closed to Cristina. Hahn then admitted to her that Cristina reminded her of herself when she was younger. Richard Webber noticed this tendency of Hahn to shut Cristina out, particularly after Cristina was able to perform a life-saving procedure without assistance despite Hahn having taught her virtually nothing. After the surgery Richard confronted Erica, saying that Cristina's work in the OR should have given her reason to celebrate as it showed she was doing her job effectively. However as this clearly was not the case in this instance, he backed Cristina up and insisted that if she wished to remain in the hospital she would have to improve her teaching methods and not destroy the spirits of her residents. As a result, Erica made an effort to reevaluate her professional technique. Outside the hospital Hahn was equally hostile to Cristina; while Hahn and Meredith helped Callie and Cristina move into their new apartment, Hahn remained as unpleasant toward Cristina as ever.

Izzie Stevens[]

Although originally taking a liking to her, Erica disliked Izzie strongly after discovering that Izzie had been the root of the cause behind one of her patient's losing out on an important heart transplant, due to Izzie's relationship with Denny Duquette. Though generally emotionally detached, Dr. Hahn is indignant at the unfair treatment to her patient, a good man with kids whose chance was taken away. She was not able to recover from the seemingly personal nature of this attack, to which neither the Chief, the hospital, nor Callie would see her side or come to her defense, one of many causes of her eventual break with the hospital.

Miranda Bailey[]

Alongside Yang, she also maintained a tough edge with Bailey, refusing to operate on Bailey's son while she was in the room and calling her a "blithering idiot" while in the company of her interns.[14] Bailey was put in charge of producing a team of surgeons to remove an abdominal leiomyosarcoma from a 10-year-old girl, which has been declared inoperable. The family agreed to the surgery only if Hahn was part of the team. From the onset, she was overwhelmingly negative, knocking back all suggestions and having no faith that the patient could possibly survive. The surgery was successful and Miranda told Hahn that she deserved no credit for the outcome due to her attitude.

Other residents[]

In comparison to Cristina and Izzie, who both expressed interest in pursuing cardiothoracic surgery as their speciality, Hahn's relationship with the other resident was less clear. However, she did request Meredith to be on her service on the basis of her mother's reputation and on one occasion to replace Cristina. She seemed to be on relatively stable terms with George and Alex even giving the latter a compliment during a complicated surgery on a baby who was born with his heart outside his chest.[15]

Richard Webber[]

While they respected each other as professionals, Erica and Richard clashed on occasion during her tenure at Seattle Grace. On her first day as head of cardio, Richard called her out on the fact that she had agreed to perform awake heart surgery on a patient who was allergic to anesthesia without consulting him first. Erica was taken aback by this and asked if Burke had been required to do the same. Her hostility was further informed by the fact that Richard had organized a 'gentleman's evening' with Derek and Mark, which Erica considered sexist and comparable to racial discrimination. In the end, the surgery went ahead and Erica attended the evening. In addition to Izzie Stevens, Richard Webber was a catalyst in her abrupt departure from Seattle Grace. Having learned that Izzie was not reported for the Denny Duquette incident, Erica expressed her outrage to Richard, who retaliated angrily, saying that the event did not go unreported. It was reported to him and he "dealt with it" and that Izzie was punished and the matter was closed. Furious, Erica stormed out of the office and left the hospital shortly after realizing that nobody would back her up in any action she planned to take.


Dr. Hahn is a long-time rival of Dr. Preston Burke in the field of cardiothoracic surgery, dating back to their days at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where she graduated second after Burke. She was a cardiothoracic attending surgeon at Seattle Presbyterian Hospital.

According to Cristina, Hahn is known amongst her peers for her septal sparing technique, which is employed when performing Ross procedures (known also by the technical term pulmonary autograph).

Dr. Stewart from Seattle Presbyterian Hospital said Erica was the best cardiovascular surgeon he's ever had.

She and Burke fought over a donor heart, which Burke ultimately won because of faulty information from Izzie pertaining to Denny's condition, and she was contacted for a consult on Harold O'Malley's valve replacement.

She was considered for the Harper Avery Award, but she lost to Preston Burke.[16]

Erica leaves SGH.

Hahn joined the staff of Seattle Grace Hospital after performing a heart transplant at the request of Chief Richard Webber. As such, she became Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Seattle Grace and appropriately dubbed "The New Burke". She left the hospital following the revelation that Izzie was not ever truly punished for what happened with Denny Duquette.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • She did sunrise yoga with Callie.[17]
  • She claims to have never lost a dart game.
  • She needed to wear glasses as a kid.
    • The fact that she does not wear them as an adult may mean that she wears contact lenses, or, like Stephanie Edwards, had laser eye surgery.
  • Unlike other the cardiothoracic surgeons in the show, Hahn's departure in Rise Up was revealed in the episode after.
  • She has the least amount of appearances of any main character, with only 25 episodes and is also the only main character to not be part of the main cast during an entire season because she was promoted during season four and left during season five.
    • She is also one of the few main characters to appear in every episode during her tenure as a main character.


A more complete gallery with pictures of Erica Hahn can be found here.

Notable Episodes[]

These episodes are Erica-centric or otherwise very informative about her life.

Memorable Quotes[]

Erica: This is like needing glasses.
Callie: I’ve blinded you?
Erica: When I was a kid, I would get these headaches, and I went to the doctor, and they said that I needed glasses. I get the glasses, and I put them on, and I'm in the car on the way home, and suddenly I yell. Because the big green blobs that I had been staring at my whole life, they weren't big green blobs. They were leaves on trees. And I didn’t even know I was missing the leaves. I didn't even know that leaves existed, and then...leaves! You, are glasses.[18]

Erica (to Callie): I don't make friends easily, I'm awkward and bad at small talk and I generally don't like people that I don't know.[19]

Callie: Look, I don't know what happened between Denny Duquette and Izzie Stevens that night, but unless you were in the middle of that situation, I don't see how you can make a judgment.
Erica: Easy. There's right, and there's wrong. And this, was wrong. And illegal. There is no gray area here. You can't kind of think this is OK. You can't kind of side with Izzie Stevens. And you can't be kind of a lesbian.[20]

Erica (to Meredith): Lie to me again and the only heart you'll ever see is yours as I'm cutting it out of your chest with a steak knife.[21]