Heather Douglas is a patient who had risky spinal surgery to correct severe scoliosis caused by VATER Syndrome.


Heather was born with VATER Syndrome, which caused advanced scoliosis that left her unable to walk upright. She was in the hospital to have kidney stones removed as well as a few ribs to relieve the pressure on her lungs. Callie Torres asked if she'd had more radical surgery to treat the spinal curvature. She said she'd had a steel rod inserted, but the rod just bent. She'd also had two previous spinal fusions.

Derek Shepherd was called for a consult. He said he could remove the curved portion of her spine and replace it with a mesh cage, which could get her walking upright. He said that there was a chance for paralysis, but Heather said she wanted the surgery. However, when her insurance company refused to pay, her surgery was cancelled. ("Six Days, Part 1")

Her surgery was rescheduled when an anonymous donor agreed to pay the entire bill for her hospitalization and rehab. After her surgery, she was able to stand up and walk with a walker. ("Six Days, Part 2")



Heather's mother came to the hospital with her. Her mother was nervous about Heather's surgery, but agreed to let her have it.

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • She was 17 at the time of her spinal surgery.
  • Izzie Stevens was her anonymous donor, though she was never told that.



Episode StillsEdit


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