Gunther is a nickname given to the resident who takes charge during a so-called Gunther exercise. The Gunther exercise is considered a team building exercise at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, which is organized when the residents don't work together well enough.
The name Gunther originated from the first doctor to step up in a situation similar to the Gunther exercise. He was a quiet guy, but turned out to be an alpha dog while treating the patient with his colleagues.
Bailey suggested to the Chief that they needed a Gunther because the fifth year residents were at each other's throats due to personal and professional conflicts. The Chief allowed it, but only if she took charge. Bailey then paged Alex, Cristina, April, and Jackson to the ER and decided that Callie's amputee patient, Susannah Wilson, was the right patient for the Gunther contest. Callie was doubtful that the residents could handle it, but Bailey insisted they needed a Gunther. Unaware of what was expected from them, the residents were informed on Susannah's condition. ("Free Falling")
Since the Chief required Bailey to be on his trial, Callie was designated to supervise the Gunther. Susannah's leg was amputated, her pelvis most likely crushed and her abdomen was described as pulp. Bailey told the residents to work together to assess and repair the injuries, but all residents had conflicting interests and treatment plans. While arguing, Cristina took charge and opened the patient's chest, in time to catch a cardiac rupture. The others started assisting her, but as she wanted to be the first and the best, she wasn't careful enough and accidentally stabbed Alex with a syringe, injecting a dose of epinephrine, which caused him to collapse. Cristina and the attendings rushed to his aid, causing Jackson to step up and take charge, with April following his orders. Much to the attendings' surprise, he turned out to be the Gunther. ("She's Gone")
- Jackson Avery
Notes and Trivia
- It appears to be common for attendings to bet on which resident will turn out to be the Gunther. Mark didn't think Jackson had the balls to be Gunther and he put his money on Cristina; Arizona knew Alex had the balls, but since everyone hated him at the time, she bet on April, whom she described as a dark horse.
- It's unknown if the Gunther exercise is still held at Grey Sloan Memorial.
- It's also unknown if the exercise is also held with residents who are not in their fifth year. It can be presumed it is not, as it requires the residents to operate as lead surgeons, something that is usually only done with fifth years.