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Time is a strange thing. When you're waiting for something good to happen, it can feel like time is dragging on. But when you want it to slow down, it goes by in the blink of an eye. The odd part is time isn't real. It's a concept imagined by scientists based on the imperfect movement of the Earth around the Sun. So why do we put so much importance on something that's just a theory? Because it's all we have. There's never enough time. Work. Kids. Life. Death. Something always cuts our time short. So our best bet is to make the most of the time we have. Or make up for lost time. But sometimes, if we're really lucky, time stands still.

Girlfriend in a Coma is the twelfth episode of the fifteenth season and the 329th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

A patient gives Meredith some clarity on her dating situation around the holidays. The strain on Bailey and Ben's marriage comes to a head. Meanwhile, Betty drops a bomb on Owen and Amelia.

Full Summary[]

Over the course of weeks, Garrett Boland visits his comatose wife Natasha Deon in the ICU. Doctors rotate in and out to check on her status.

Meredith invites Amelia and Owen for Christmas presents tomorrow, but Amelia says they are establishing their own traditions with Leo to give him a sense of normalcy. Meredith says kids can make anything normal, so he'll be fine. Levi has an ICU rotation coming up so he asks Meredith advice on how to deal with Natasha. Meredith says she been here a month and it's brutal. He has to watch her closely. If there's any change, he has to page her immediately.

In the ER, Tom finds that Teddy has just taken care of the wife of his patient. Owen comes up to Teddy and says it's snowing.

As they stand in the snow, Teddy asks Owen about Christmas. Owen says he and Amelia are doing the traditional stuff. And Amelia has to visit Betty in rehab. Owen wants to invite Teddy over, but she's covering for him in the ER. Owen says they'll find their own traditions, too, with their baby.

Alex's Christmas present to the staff is a ham, about which Meredith mocks him. Jo invites her to their navy scrubs-only classy NYE party. Jo suggests she ask Link to be her date. Andrew then runs into Meredith. He asks her to have a drink with her, but she needs to put her kids to bed so Santa can come. However, she does invite him to the Karevs' NYE party. Jo is upset, but Meredith can handle her own love life. Link, dressed as Santa, comes up and hands Meredith cookies from his bag. He's spending his Christmas Eve visiting kids with cancer. Jo says Meredith's in a love triangle, but Meredith says there's no love.

Ben drops by Bailey's to drop off presents for Tuck from him. Bailey says she put his name on the presents she got him because she didn't want to exclude him. Bailey will make sure Tuck gets Ben's gifts, though. She asks Ben about tomorrow. He'll be on call since Christmas is a busy day. They might see each other in the pit.

Richard, Catherine, Maggie, and Jackson have just finished their catered dinner. Catherine wants to go to bed. They all agree she can go. Richard offers to help her upstairs, but she rejects the help. She climbs the stairs arduously. Richard tells the others she won't let him help. Maggie says she'll get there.

Nico is hanging out with Levi in the ICU. He wishes Levi could come to his family dinner. Andrew comes in to check on Natasha. Garrett comes running out the room asking for help. They rush into her room. Natasha is awake.

All of Natasha's doctors have gathered in the room. Levi presents the case. Natasha has been hospitalized for 35 days now. She's still on a ventilator but with a thoracostomy for empyema drainage. She can't talk yet because of the vent and they need to balance out her nutrition. Maggie says they can close the thoracostomy today. Link promises to get her up and walking as soon as possible. Amelia says they will get her to that planetarium wedding.

Link compliments Meredith on her work. He gives Meredith a fist bump and walks off. Jo whispers "love triangle" as she passes by. Andrew asks Meredith when she's going to stop stringing Link along. She keeps giving him false hope. Meredith is not sure it's false. Andrew's getting tired of wasting time not being with her. He asks her if NYE is a date or if she's going to ignore him there because she's not brave enough. She says it's a date.

Amelia is visiting Betty in rehab. Amelia tells her Leo is teething. Betty misses him a bit, but not as much as drugs. She misses drugs. They make her feel better than anything. She shouldn't be a mom. She's a kid. She should give Leo to Owen and Amelia and pretend none of this ever happened. Betty thinks Amelia has somewhere to be for NYE.

Andrew is surprised to see Levi arrive at the Karevs' party with Nico. Levi tells him Natasha was using the speaking valve for the first time, so Meredith wanted to stay himself.

Maggie notices Jackson is distracted. She suggests they get out of here. The ball can drop in their bed. He gives her a look, and she says she didn't mean for that to sound so graphic.

Bailey is asking Teddy's advice on whether or not she can call over Ben. He might think it's a booty call. Teddy says that might not be a bad thing.

Alex and Jo start handing out mini bottles of champagne for the countdown. Tom arrives just in time. He compliments Teddy's looks. They count down with the rest of the guests and then kiss. Levi and Nico also kiss, as do Jo and Alex.

Meredith is with Natasha in the ICU. A NYE show is streaming on a laptop. Garrett went to get sparkling water so they could pretend it's champagne. Natasha says Garrett is a good one, which Meredith agrees with. Garrett talked to her all day, including Meredith and the doctors who like her. Natasha thinks Meredith should be with them. Garrett comes in and rewinds the show so they can count down. Natasha tells Meredith she should kiss someone who turns back time for her.

Link and Andrew talk at the bar at the party. They both got stood up by Meredith.

Levi is presenting Natasha's case again. It's day 45 and she's up and walking with some help. She has tolerated her speaking valve trials with intermittent oxygen. They are removing her chest tube today. She's made a lot of progress, but they are still not out of the woods. Natasha wants to eat, but they're not there yet except jello. She asks for watermelon flavor.

Outside of the room, Meredith catches up with Andrew, who gets angry at her for having stood him up. He says it feels awful. She says she had a patient. Andrew snaps that she also has a phone. The game and tension has been fun, but that was just rude. He's not a doormat.

At home, Catherine lashes out at the physical therapist, whom she claims talks to her like she's a child. Richard asks her for a minute. Catherine doesn't want to hear the recovery lecture. She asked the physical therapist for exercises to get her sensual self back, but the therapist told her not to worry about that, like she's some dried-up mop. She misses her sexual appetite. Richard brings up average recovery time, but Catherine says she's not average and walks out.

Owen is late for Teddy's ultrasound and gets upset when he finds they have already started. They start arguing, but they stop when they hear the heartbeat and see they're having a baby girl. They hug.

Bailey follows Ben out of the ER. She needs to tell him something. Her heart is ready for him to come home. He doesn't react. Bailey says it's lonely when Tuck's not home and her fence needs to be repaired. Ben says she broke his heart. He's not coming back because her fence needs patching. Bailey admits she's not been herself. She was working on her physical health so much that she forgot about her mental health. Her meds needed to be adjusted. She's being treated. Ben is called away for an emergency.

Levi presents Natasha's case again. They are on day 62. She was placed back on the ventilator two days ago. She has pneumonia. They also won't be able to reverse her ostomy today because the CT showed fluid in her abdomen. They will clean those out in surgery today. That means they have to re-open the wounds that have been healing.

Tom finds Teddy resting on an empty bed in a trauma room. He knows what she needs; his favorite nail technician Mimi at Pink Bunny, which has the best mani/pedi in Seattle. She should let him know when she wants to experience pure bliss for $29.

Meredith, Jo, Andrew, and Levi are operating. Meredith and Jo have noticed that Levi is less Glasses. Levi says he met someone. He's hot and confident and he likes him. And he's gay. He's never felt more like himself. They're all happy for him. Andrew says life's too short not to share it with somebody that lights up your world. Meredith finds necrotic bowel.

Amelia and Owen are at rehab. She tells him Betty talked about Linus a lot last time she was here. Betty enters with a boy. She comes up to them and confirms that's Linus. Betty says she's doing the steps and she's on the one where you apologize and tell the truth. She's been lying since she met them. Her name is not Betty and her parents don't know she's not here. The parents they were talking to on the phone, that was actually her friend Jerry. Her real name is Britney. She should have told them, but she was scared her parents would find out about Leo. She ran away when she was found out she was pregnant. She says they can't call her parents. She's scared they're going to take Leo away.

Levi is presenting Natasha's case again. It's day 73. Garrett feels like every step forward means two steps back. Natasha feels like she's living the same day over and over. As the doctors go to explain what caused the necrotic bowel, Natasha codes. Meredith suspects a PE and asks for an echo.

They are now on day 84. Outside the room, Meredith and Andrew inform Garrett that the PE weakened Natasha's heart and lungs. Her kidneys have worsened as well. Garrett breaks down and asks why this is happening to them after all they've went through. He breaks down and says he'll die if Natasha dies. Meredith makes him look at her and assures him he won't die. He has to fight for her. Natasha is fighting, too, so he does not get to give up. He has to take a walk, take a shower, and get a meal. They will be fighting to keep her alive, but he needs to keep himself alive.

Jackson and Maggie are watching Catherine walk on the treadmill with the physical therapist and Richard by her side. Suddenly, Catherine falls down and she breaks down crying. She can't do this. It pains Jackson to see her like this.

Owen is trying to find Britney's parents, but Amelia tells him to stop. They don't even know what to say to them. They take in their daughter without going through the foster system and they are now raising their grandson, whom they don't know exists. Amelia says it's Britney's call to make. Owen says she has been lying to everyone without remorse. Amelia says this is all part of the disease. Owen thinks lying and stealing aren't part of that. It feels like an excuse to justify poor life choices. Amelia is hurt by his comment. She grabs her coat to leave. Owen apologizes. He can't deal with the thought of Leo being taken away, so if that's happening, he needs to know sooner than later.

Maggie follows Jackson into the garden. She wants to do movie night tonight to distract him. She hates Valentine's Day, but she's trying new things. She knows he's hurting but she doesn't know how to make it better. Neither does he. Maggie says she thought about killing herself on the worst day of her mother's disease. It was a fleeting thought, but it came. That's how bad the fear and pain were for her. Then, she shook and her eye started twitching. Jackson recognizes that. He's also experiencing shortness of breath.

Andrew finds Meredith and questions why she told Garrett not to give up on love while she runs away from it herself. She tells him she has kids and a job. Andrew used to think Meredith's beyond him, but turns out she's just a kid hiding behind excuses. Meredith turns around and invites Link to dinner tonight. He's surprised she's asking him out on Valentine's Day, but he accepts.

Bailey arrives home and finds Ben working in the front yard. Ben says this is his turn to talk. He followed his bless like she told him to, but then she turned around and left him over it. She can't leave him like that ever again. He should have known something wasn't right with her. He should have recognized it. He promised to build her a treehouse, but he never followed through on that. Until now. She then sees he's building her a treehouse. He needs to know she won't ever call time-out on this again. She promises she won't. She hugs him.

The doctors have gathered in Natasha's room. They have been in there for over 3 months and since then, Natasha has only gotten worse. She wants to be taken off the vent. She feels she's dying. Maggie brings up there are other options, but Meredith says they already know. Natasha says they've all done everything to give her as much time as possible. She may not have gotten her wedding under the stars, but they gave them the rest of their lives together.

Alex needs verbal consent from Garrett as her power of attorney. He consents. Meredith explains the procedure. They'll give her meds to keep her comfortable. She checks if they are ready and then turns off the vent. Garrett starts weeping and Natasha comforts him. Jo whispers to Meredith that Alex had an idea.

Owen presents Amelia with a bouquet of flowers. They do Valentine's since he's been an ass. Tom says he has a date. Teddy shows up and Amelia and Owen piece things together. Alex comes up and asks Owen and Amelia to come to the ICU and to bring their phones.

The doctors gather in Natasha's room. Jo lays out Natasha's blue wedding dress on top of her. Garrett tells Natasha that the doctors wanted to get them their wedding under the stars. They turn off the lights in the room and all doctors lift up their phones with pictures of stars on the screens. Meredith reads the vows Natasha wrote before the accident.

Catherine apologizes to Richard for having been impossible. Richard tells her not to apologize. He can't even begin to imagine what she's going through, but he promises to be by her side while she does it. He helps her to get up and tells her she couldn't even be average if she tried. She asks him to take her to the bedroom.

Back in Natasha's room, a minister officially weds the two of them. Natasha wants to talk, but Garrett doesn't want her to strain herself. He knows. He thanks her for marrying him. The doctors give them privacy while they say goodbye.

Once she has left the room, Andrew asks Meredith to come with him.

They arrive on the roof of the hospital. She says she's supposed to be on a date, but he says she already is. He opens a bottle of champagne and proposes a toast to Garrett and Natasha.

Teddy and Tom are enjoying a pedicure. Tom even arranged dinner.

Ben and Bailey are making out in bed.

The waitress asks Link if he wants to keep waiting, but he's done waiting. He orders a drink.

Andrew gets close to Meredith. They share their first kiss.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Natasha Deon[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Empyema
    • Broken pelvis
    • Pneumonia
    • Dead bowel
    • Pulmonary embolism
  • Treatment:
    • Mechanical ventilation
    • Thoracostomy
    • Chest tube
    • Tube feeding
    • Antibiotics
    • Dialysis
    • DVT prophylaxis
    • Bowel resection
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • Heparin

Natasha, 45, was still in the hospital in a medically-induced coma. After 35 days in the ICU, her sedatives were discontinued on Christmas Eve and she woke up later that night. She was oriented to self, place, and time, but unable to speak because she was on a ventilator and had an open thoracostomy to drain her empyema. Her spine was cleared and her pelvis was still healing after being internally fixated. They started turning down her vent settings so they could remove it and allow her to talk on her own and also worked to get her nutrition back up. Maggie planned to close the thoracostomy that day since her lungs were doing better.

On New Years Eve, Natasha started using her speaking valve for the first time.

After 45 days in the hospital, Natasha was able to get up and walk to a chair. Her chest tube was removed that day. She had a feeding tube providing nutrition to her.

After 62 days in the hospital, she was tachycardia in the night and was put back on the ventilator due to pneumonia. She said her ostomy was hurting and was told they wouldn't be able to remove it that day as planned and instead needed to drain the fluid in her abdomen. She was also receiving dialysis and DVT prophylaxis. In surgery, they found she had dead bowel and had to remove it.

After 73 days in the hospital, on February 2, she was regressing instead of improving. During rounds, she coded and had to be resuscitated. Meredith believed she'd had a pulmonary embolism and ordered heparin.

After 84 days in the hospital, Garrett was told that the PE had weakened her heart and lungs, as well as her kidneys.

After 85 days, Natasha and her fiancé decided to ask the doctors to take her off the ventilator. She breathed on her own for a while and then she died.


  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Teddy treated a patient in the ER who had taken an ice skate to the tibia.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Concussion
  • Treatment:

Tom treated a woman who had a severe concussion.

Teddy Altman[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

Teddy received an ultrasound, which identified the baby as a female.


Song Performer Scene
"One" Sleeping at Last
  • Garrett sits by Natasha's bedside for weeks as time changes around him. The doctors come in and out to check on her.
  • Teddy and Owen stand out in the snow together and talk about their Christmas plans.
  • Owen invites Teddy to Christmas dinner, but she has to work.
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" The Oscar Brown Jazz Trio
  • Richard, Catherine, Maggie, and Jackson eat Christmas eve dinner.
  • Catherine heads up to bed early.
"Stand Out" Alexi von Guggenberg
  • At Jo and Alex's party, Andrew learns from Schmitt that Meredith stayed to watch Natasha.
  • Jackson is distracted at the party, so Maggie suggests that they leave, even though it's not midnight yet.
  • Bailey asks Teddy for advice on what to do about Ben.
  • Jo calls everyone's attention because it's almost midnight.
  • Tom compliments Teddy and the countdown starts. Teddy and Tom kiss when it strikes midnight.
  • Nico and Schmitt and Jo and Alex wish each other a happy new year.
"As Good As It Gets" Leftrightcenter
  • At the party, Link and Andrew talk awkwardly about Meredith standing them up.
"Maps" Freya Ridings
  • Garrett asks the doctors why this is happening to them.
  • He starts hyperventilating and says if she dies, he'll die.
  • Meredith says he won't die and he needs to fight for her because she's fighting.
  • Catherine does her exercises with the physical therapist. She falls and starts sobbing.
  • Jackson leaves after seeing his mother fall.
"Stand by Me" Bootstraps
  • The doctors go into Natasha's room and give her the wedding she dreamed up, under the stars generated by their phones.
  • Meredith reads the vows.
  • Catherine apologizes to Richard, but he says she shouldn't apologize and he'll be by her side for the whole thing.
  • They kiss and Catherine demands that he take her to their bedroom.
  • The minister performs the wedding ceremony and they kiss.
  • Garrett cries as Natasha dies.
  • The doctors leave the room.
"Say It Now" AG feat. Nilu
  • On the roof, Andrew and Meredith toast to Garrett and Natasha.
  • Teddy and Tom enjoy their pedicures together.
  • Their dinner is delivered.
  • Bailey and Ben have sex.
  • Link waits as the restaurant, but gives up and orders a drink.
  • Andrew and Meredith kiss.

Notes and Trivia[]


Grey's Anatomy 15x12 Promo "Girlfriend in a Coma" (HD) Season 15 Episode 12 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Girlfriend in a Coma, originally sung by The Smiths.
  • This episode scored 6.79 million viewers.
  • As of this episode, Levi Schmitt no longer wears glasses. This was probably done to reflect Levi's change in behavior, which Meredith and Jo comment on by stating he is less "Glasses."
  • Goof: Ben gets inside of Aid Car 15, although he works for station 19.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]


Jo: You are in a love triangle.
Meredith: There's no love. There's no triangle.
Jo: Yeah...
Meredith: Unless, of course, the ham, the cookies, and I are a triangle.

Andrew: I don't know if you've ever been stood up before, but it feels pretty awful.
Meredith: Well, I had a patient.
Andrew: You have a phone. Look, it's been fun, the waiting, the build-up, the game. But that? That wasn't fun. That was just rude.
Meredith: You're right.
Andrew: I'm a good guy, Meredith. But I'm not a doormat. And if that's what you're after, then, I don't know, maybe Link is your guy after all.

Bailey: Ben, I need to tell you something or ask you something. I don't have the words ready, but my heart is. I want you to come home, Ben. Please. I mean, it's lonely at the house when Tuck is gone and the fence, it blew down after the windstorm. I haven't had a chance to... No. Come home, Ben. Please. Come home.
Ben: Miranda, I love you. But you broke my heart. I'm not coming home just because now you're lonely and the fence needs patching.
Bailey: Okay. Okay, no, that's not what I meant. You know I haven't been myself. It was my meds. I was working on my physical health so much that I was ignoring my mental... My anxieties, again, they... It wasn't the job, and it was not your fault. But I'm handling it. I'm being treated. I'm better now.

Meredith: You seem different.
Levi: I got contacts.
Meredith: No, it's not that. It's just, you're less...
Jo: Glasses.
Meredith: Yeah.
Jo: Yeah, and the other day, when I asked you to change Natasha's central line, you didn't mess it up at all.
Levi: Kind of a backhanded compliment, but thank you. I met someone. And he's hot, and he's confident, and he likes me. And I'm gay. And he's gay. And we're gay together. And it's the most me I've ever felt in my whole life.
Meredith: Well, I'm happy for you, Schmitt.
Levi: Thank you.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it's beautiful. After all, what's life for if not to share it with somebody, right?
Meredith: Does that mean life is not worth living alone?
Andrew: I think if you meet someone who lights you up, you should fight for them.

Amelia: Owen, you have to stop. We've been having this conversation for two weeks.
Owen: We just need to find them. We need to tell them where their daughter is.
Amelia: And have you thought about what you're gonna say to them if you find them?
Owen: "Hi, we're two strangers. We took in your daughter without going through the foster system, and, oh, yeah, we have her son, who you don't even know exists. Congrats, Grandma and Grandpa!"
Owen: We at least need to tell the social worker.
Amelia: Owen, she she needs to make that call herself. She's not ready. We can't push her.
Owen: Why is she running our lives? She's been lying to us, DCHS, everyone for months, with no remorse.
Amelia: She had remorse. She's an addict. She's figuring it out. This is all part of the disease. Betty is...
Owen: Her name isn't even Betty! Sorry, I know that, yes, yes, addiction is a disease, but since when do its symptoms include lying and stealing from people who are trying to help you? It just all feels like an excuse for justifying piss poor life choices. Wait, where are you going?
Amelia: To Meredith's.
Owen: Why?
Amelia: I don't know. "Piss poor life choices"?
Owen: Wait, wait, Amelia. I'm sorry. That was way out of line.
Amelia: You don't even see the line.
Owen: I don't know who I'm gonna be if they take Leo away. He's my son. If they're gonna take him I need to know sooner than later.

Garrett: If she dies, I die.
Meredith: Garrett. Listen to me. Look at me, please. Look at me. I'm here. Look at me, please. Listen to me. You won't die. I know it feels like that right now, but trust me. You won't die. You have to fight for her. She's in there fighting for you. You don't get to give up. So part of that fight is you're gonna go take a walk, you're gonna take a shower, and you're gonna get a meal. We will be here, fighting to keep her alive. And you are gonna go fight to keep yourself alive.

Andrew: How can you stand there and tell Garrett to fight for love when you're the one running away from it?
Meredith: I have three kids and a big job. What?
Andrew: Nothing, just you know, I used to think you were so beyond me, but you're not. You're like a kid playing hide and seek, hiding behind a million excuses.
Atticus: Happy Valentine's Day.
Meredith: Hi. Do you want to go to dinner tonight?
Atticus: Are you asking me out on Valentine's Day?
Meredith: I guess I am.
Atticus: Well, I'm not one to usually bang my head against a wall.
Meredith: Is that a no?
Atticus: No, no. I'm banging my head. It's my new thing, I guess.

Ben: It's my turn to say things now. You said you wanted me to be happy, to follow my bliss, and I did, just like you told me to. And then you turned around and left me over it. Now, I may be the one sleeping somewhere else, but you left me.
Bailey: I know. I'm sorry.
Ben: No, you can't leave me like that again. Not ever. All right? You can take all the the job sabbaticals you want and change your career a dozen times, and I will be with you every step of the way. But either we are in this together or we aren't. And I never planned a version where we weren't.
Bailey: I know.
Ben: No, don't say "I know." Listen to me. I should've known something wasn't right with you. I should've helped you get help. I should've... I've seen it before. I should've recognized it. When you had a heart attack, I promised you I would build you a treehouse, a place for you to go when you would worry, when you felt overwhelmed, when you needed to be alone, but I never followed through on that. For that, I'm sorry.
Bailey: You're building me a treehouse?
Ben: Now, Miranda, I need to know that this is not something that you can call time out on ever again.
Bailey: Never. No, I promise you.
Ben: Well, then, yeah, I'm building you a treehouse.

Catherine: I'm sorry I've been so impossible.
Richard: No, no, you do not get to apologize, sweetheart. I can't begin to understand what you're going through. But I promise I'll be at your side while you do it. And Catherine Fox, you couldn't be average if you tried. What's the matter?
Catherine: Get me to that bedroom. Now.
Richard: She's back, baby.

Teddy: This is better than sex.
Tom: Every pregnant woman I bring here says the same thing.
Teddy: What? You are just so...
Tom: I know. I am so. But not as so as you.

See Also[]

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