Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki
Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

Pushing the Limits is the fourth episode of the third season and the 35th overall episode of Private Practice.

Short Summary[]

Addison, Sam and Cooper treat the sick child of a homeless teen mother they met while volunteering. Meanwhile Violet has trouble relating to her baby when her feelings about her attack resurface during counseling of a rape victim who is now pregnant, and Cooper's financial woes catch up with him when he's asked to help buy out Naomi's share of the practice.

Full Summary[]

Addison and Sam are hiking while talking about the joy of surgery and Addison's lack of sex. Sam wants to talk about Naomi. If they're not going to replace her, they should at least talk buying her shares. Addison's been thinking about that and she wants to suggest something later today. She also suggests Sam can become the second surgeon at the practice. He seems pleased with that idea.

Pete and Lucas get on an elevator with Violet. Pete says the nanny had a cold, so he brought Lucas to work. Violet barely reacts and gets off the elevator after wishing him a good day.

Addison passes by Dell's office and finds him staring at Betsey's picture. It's her first day at a new school, so he's a little worried. She cried this morning. Addison says she'll be fine. Dell asks if he can take off early. Addison allows him to. A patient appears in the doorway and announces she's in labor. Dell takes her to a room. Addison welcomes Dell back.

Violet's with her patients. Colette feels like Ty doesn't look at her anymore. She was raped. Ty can't bring himself to say what happened, afraid it'll damage Colette. Colette says she won't forget what happened if he just doesn't bring it up. Violet says he needs to deal with what Colette went through if they want to move forward. The session's over. Colette stays behind and tells Violet that she took a pregnancy test. She's 8 weeks along, meaning she's not sure if she's pregnant by her husband or the rapist.

Pete's telling the other doctors how Violet looked right through Lucas. Violet comes in and tells them about Colette. She notices Cooper's wearing a tie and asks what the occasion is. Addison says it's volunteer day at the clinic and she asked Sam and Cooper to come with her. Violet is surprised that Addison didn't ask her. She reminds Addison she's seeing patient. Addison lets it slide and brings up they all need to put in $50,000 to buy out Naomi. Then they'll be equal partners. Everybody agrees. Addison wants everyone's check by the end of the day so she can start with the paperwork. Violet agrees and leaves the kitchen without looking at Lucas once.

Addison, Sam, and Cooper are working at the clinic. Addison's with a 15 year old girl and her baby. She has condoms, tampons, and birth control samples for the girl. They came down to L.A. from Portland, since it's better to be homeless in a warm place. Addison says it'd be great if they could get check-ups more often, but Danielle says they need documents and IDs for that and she declines. They'll make it. Addison asks about her family. Danielle says her mother's out of the picture. She had to leave if she wanted to keep her baby. Danielle says it's been hard, but they're lucky they have each other. Danielle says her son's had a running nose for weeks. Cold medicine didn't help. Addison calls Cooper over. Cooper starts his exam and finds a rash on Elliot's belly. He's had it for a few days, Danielle says. Cooper says they should get back to the practice for a ECG now.

Dell and his patient enter the lobby. She was so sure it was time. Dell says it will be, but she's gonna have to do some more waiting. Dell approaches Pete and congratulates him with Lucas. Violet comes over and asks Dell to help her set up a test.

Sam, Addison, and Cooper are watching Elliot's test results. He's got aneurysms on his coronary arteries. It's Kawasaki syndrome. Cooper wants to treat it with immunoglobulins, but Sam wants to do more since the patient and his mother are homeless. He can perform a bypass procedure. Addison says he can't just jump back into surgery. Sam says they both know nobody else will touch this case since there's no money in it. Addison wants to use Danielle's social security number to contact her mother, but Cooper points out they don't know her situation. Not everybody has a rich and perfect life, he says, but he doesn't want to explain. Sam sides with Addison.

Colette tells Ty she's pregnant. He's over the moon since they've been trying for so long. It's like a new start. Violet says a paternity test revealed that Ty's not the father. He gets angry and asks how soon they can abort. Colette knows it's awful, but this might be their chance after trying for so long. Ty can't believe she wants that rapist inside her for another nine months. He leaves.

Pete approaches Violet with Lucas. Pete says Naomi asked him to come down for a consult, so he wants Violet to look after Lucas. He puts the carrier on her desk and says Lucas won't be insulted if she continues working. He leaves. Violet turns away from the baby.

Pete arrives at the practice downstairs and tells Naomi that in case Violet asks, he's here for a consult for her. He needed to leave the baby with her. Naomi doesn't think forcing her to bond with the baby is a good idea. Pete says he's not expecting a miracle, but he thought it'd be good to remind Violet of her baby. Naomi offers him some chocolate. Pete says this place is nice. Naomi says it's a little quiet. They're all treating her like the boss. Sheldon comes in and says this is his turf. Pete scoffs and leaves. Sheldon explains to Naomi he's working his way through the grieving process. Anger lasts very long, and screw acceptance. Naomi offers him some chocolate.

Addison enters Cooper's office and says she found Danielle's mother. Also, she still needs Cooper's check. He acts a little weird and she asks what's going on. He says not everybody has a $30 million trust fund. He leaves his office.

Danielle tells Sam she needs to be back at the shelter by 8, but she doesn't want to leave her son by himself. Sam says she can stay with him. They'll get her set up in his room. She goes back to her son. Addison comes over and Sam brings the surgery up again. Addison says they'll have to wait until Danielle's mother arrives. She says Cooper yelled at her about money. Sam says Addison never had to worry about money growing up, but it's different for the others. Sam backed her on this because it's for the practice and it just so happens that he can write the character. Addison realizes she's an ass. Sam says she could be a little more supportive, like with him wanting to operate.

Cooper comes home and finds that Charlotte has demolished his bathroom. The faucet was dripping and she decided to renovate the entire bathroom. She refuses to live in a manhole. Cooper says this is not cool. She asks him to write her a check to pay for all this. Cooper says she really shouldn't have done this.

Dell tells Kimmy that she has no contractions, like this morning. Babies can be overdue. Dell needs to go to pick up his daughter from school, but Kimmy is worried something goes wrong at home. Her husband's not around and she has tons of questions. She paid for the midwife experience and Dell hasn't around. He agrees to go over her questions.

Pete finds Violet and Lucas in the exact same spot as where he left them. He can't believe she didn't want to pick up her child now that he's awake. He tells her that she's Lucas's mother before leaving her office with Lucas.

Violet's staring at the stain on the floor in her living room. Cooper comes in with a sledgehammer and says he needs to hide this here before Charlotte can continue demolishing his bathroom. Violet tells him she's tried everything to get the blood out of the wood, but nothing works. Violet tells Cooper that Colette wants to keep the rapist's baby. She wants to tell Colette that's crazy, but she can't. He asks Violet if she actually wrote Addison a check, but she's too focused on the floor. She thinks the product she's using now might actually be working.

Naomi's holding Lucas as Pete says Violet won't pick him up or look at him. Sheldon comes over and says he'd think that Pete understands the concept of boundaries. Pete says Naomi is his friend, but Sheldon says Naomi is his. He calls Naomi, because Pete got the girl and the baby. Naomi tells Pete she'll see him later and he leaves with the baby. Sheldon admits he's still not over the anger part.

Addison enters Elliot's room with Danielle's mother. Danielle wonders who called her. Addison confesses she did. Susanna says she kept looking for Danielle but couldn't find her. She says Elliot looks like Danielle when she was a baby. Susanna tells her daughter she can come home now. Danielle says her mother dragged her to an abortion clinic, and when she wouldn't do it, she told her to give the baby up for adoption. She doesn't want her mother here. Danielle packs her stuff and leaves with Elliot.

Addison and Cooper are out on the street, looking for Danielle. She apologizes to him about the money and offers to lend him money, but he doesn't want it, nor does he wants to talk about what happened. They're drawn by a child screaming and find Danielle holding her son. She says he always cries like this when he's hungry. She wants to give him some pudding she got at the hospital, but Addison says pudding won't help if there's something wrong. Cooper convinces her to let him check her son. He does a quick exam and tells Addison to call 911.

Colette enters Violet's office and tells her that Ty didn't come home. Violet says he needs time to understand why Colette would want this. Colette says she and Ty were perfect, but she's having a baby. She thinks she's up for it. Violet questions if she understands what it means to see that baby every day for the rest of her life. It'll remind her of every horrible detail of the rape over and over. Violet gets emotional as she speaks about that horrible thing staring you in the face every day. Colette lets that sink in and storms out of the office as Violet realizes what she just did. She goes to chase after Colette.

Sam tells Danielle that one of the aneurysms must have ruptured. He suggests a bypass procedure or a stent, which is experimental for kids Elliot's age. Danielle has no clue what to choose. Sam suggests the bypass surgery, which he'll perform. Danielle trusts him to do it. Cooper takes Danielle to her baby. Sam turns to Addison and tells her he couldn't let Danielle stand there all confused. He can do this surgery. Addison says it's his call.

Ty stops by at the office. He wants to thank Violet for talking sense into Colette, who's scheduled an abortion tomorrow. He doesn't know what she said, but it changed her mind. He leaves. Sheldon comes over, looking for Pete to finish a conversation they had earlier. Dell comes over holding Lucas. He needs Violet to take Lucas, because he has a patient who's supposedly in labor again and Betsey's waiting for him at school. Violet backs away from Lucas, which Sheldon notices. He takes Lucas and Dell leaves, telling Kimmy on the phone she can't go into labor from burping. Violet tells Sheldon it was good to see him and walks off.

Susanna paged Addison, who tells her Elliot's being prepped for surgery. Susanna says Danielle could barely take care of herself. She has a knick for making mistakes. Dragging that poor boy around without a roof over their head, that's no good. She wants better for her grandson, so she has decided to petition for custody. Danielle is still a child and she is the mother here. Addison apologizes for what she's about to say, but Susanna's an ass. She's a good person, but Danielle is a mother now, too. Addison's sure that Susanna also wants the best for her daughter, but sometimes you only hurt people when you're trying to help. She tells Susanna to think about Danielle. Susanna says she has to think for Danielle now instead of about her.

Kimmy's back on Dell's exam table, but he again tells her she's not in labor. She doesn't want to sit around at home by herself, because she's not gonna know what to do. Dell opens the door for her, but she refuses to get off the table. Dell says the baby won't come until it's ready, and in the meantime, he cannot be her babysitter. He's a midwife and he's got other responsibilities. She's got to pull it together, go home, and be patient until it's her time. She starts crying and leaves.

In the scrub room, Addison wishes Sam good luck. He knows what she's thinking. She says that doesn't matter. Surgeons step up and don't let other people what's right or wrong. He can't waiver. He told Danielle he could do this, so he has to do it. He enters the OR.

Naomi, Sheldon, and Pete enter the latter's office. Pete thanks Sheldon for watching Lucas and puts him down. Sheldon says it's hard to watch Violet around Lucas. Knowing he's gonna regret this, Sheldon tells Naomi she needs to hire Pete to come work downstairs, because having Lucas around will only push Violet further away. That's like rubbing failure in her face. Besides, the other doctors at the practice have no social skills. He promises he'll learn to be around Pete.

Dell enters Violet's office and she gives him water. Dell says he yelled at a pregnant woman because he didn't want to do his job. Violet says she scared her patient into something she doesn't really want to do. Violet says she scared the woman into having an abortion because she was raped herself twice, once actually and then the baby thing. Violet says this is the one thing she's supposed to still do well. Dell says at least she's here, wanting and trying to get better. He doesn't want to be here right now, because he keeps thinking about Betsey, who begged him to stay. Violet says he told his patient what he actually wanted to tell Betsey, that he'd be there when she needs him. That's good advice. Dell says she's a good therapist, no matter what she told her patient.

Danielle's stealing stuff from a supply room, but Cooper catches her as she leaves the room. She asks him not to tell on her because she's got just enough for a week. He asks what then. She says she'll collect cans or wash windshields. Cooper says she can't live like this anymore with Elliot. Doing the best by Elliot means growing up and doing hard stuff. It means asking for help and admitting that you're drowning. Danielle says that she couldn't buy Elliot cheese puffs the other day because she needed the money for the bus fare.

Addison is hovering as Sam is operating on Elliot. Addison says Susanna wants custody, and that she made things worse when she tried to apologize to Cooper. The monitor starts beeping and Sam says the vessels are too small to connect. Sam can't get the lumen to open. Addison wonders if she has to call someone else. It's okay to step aside. Sam forbids her to call anyone. She's a guest in his OR and she has to shut up. He continues working.

Danielle's with Elliot after the surgery. It went great. Danielle hugs Sam to thank him and Sam says Elliot will be fine. Susanna's watching from outside the room. Addison tells her that Elliot's gonna be okay. Danielle looks at Cooper and then goes outside to invite her mother in. They're both moved and Addison smiles.

Violet's called Ty and Colette back to her office. She says that her role should be to help them decide what they want, not to impose her views on them. She crossed a line. Colette says she made her think. Violet says she let her own stuff impact her patients and that can't happen. Ty says it's all good. They're moving forward. Violet says that's good if it is what they both want, but she's afraid she hasn't given Colette the chance to think what she wants. She wants to ask them to take a step back and talk about it. Colette says she's scared, because the things Violet said, that's how she feels. Violet says she was feeling other things when she first came in. Colette has to put those feelings into words, too, so they can move forward. Ty takes Colette's hand and says he hates this. He hates that he couldn't protect her. She knows that. He asks what she wants to do.

Kimmy enters Dell's office and says she's 9 months pregnant, meaning her hormones and emotions are all over the place, and he's supposed to be her support, but he's only questioning her. She's ready for this and the only one she's worried about is him. He says she's right. He was unprofessional and he should be more patient. Kimmy says she peed herself. Dell smiles and says her water broke. It's time. He gets up and guides her to the delivery room.

At home, Cooper orders Charlotte to come out of the bathroom. He tells her he's broke. He doesn't have the 50 grant to buy out Naomi's shares and he's humiliated about it, but she's his girlfriend. She wonders how a doctor can be broke. He says pediatricians make less money. He's spoiled and he likes porn and cars and electronics way too much. He never looks ahead to next month and now he has to deal with it. Charlotte kisses him. He asks her to find something else to do instead of making him broker.

Sam and Addison are drinking wine to celebrate his surgery. He forgot what it was like to be an arrogant ass. Sometimes, that's a good thing. Addison says she shouldn't have doubted him. He says he shouldn't have doubted himself, so they're good. Charlotte comes in to discuss the buy-in. She gives them a 50 grant check for Cooper, and a blank check for herself. They can write whatever number they need, but she wants in. Addison asks if Cooper knows this. Charlotte says she'll take care of Cooper.

Pete enters Violet's office and tells her him throwing Lucas in her face is not fair, but he's gonna want to if he stays here. So he's taking a job at Pacific Wellcare with Naomi. He's sorry that all this is so hard for her.

While using more product on her floor, Violet says that Pete was supposed to wait until she got better, not walk out. She just needed time, that's all. So she thought she'd give Lucas to Pete so she could get that time. Cooper says she pushed him away. She knows, but she didn't need this amount of space. Pete just doesn't get it. Also, this stain remover costs 40 bucks and it's crap. She throws the bottle away and fetches the sledgehammer Cooper brought. She starts hitting the floor. Cooper tells her it's gonna get better. She wonders when as she keeps hitting the floor.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Medical Notes[]


  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Doctors/Medical Personnel:
  • Treatment:
    • Delivery

Kimmy came into the practice thinking she was in labor, but it was a false alarm. She had several more false alarms. Eventually, she came back into the practice and was actually in labor.

Colette and Ty[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Colette
      • Pregnancy
  • Treatment:
    • Couples counseling

Colette and Ty were in couples counseling because Colette had been raped and it caused difficulties in their marriage. This was further complicated when Colette revealed that she was eight weeks pregnant and didn't know if her rapist or her husband had gotten her pregnant. A paternity test revealed that the rapist was the father. Ty wanted Colette to abort, but she said it could be their chance to have a baby, something they had wanted. After talking to Violet, Colette scheduled an abortion, but Violet later admitted that she had crossed a line and encouraged Colette to make her own decision. Colette admitted she was scared and started talking about her feelings with her husband.

Danielle Palmer[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Danielle, 15, was examined by Addison, who gave her birth control samples and hygiene products.

Elliot Palmer[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Kawasaki syndrome
    • Burst aneurysm
  • Treatment:
    • Immunoglobulin
    • Bypass surgery

Elliot, 2, had had a runny nose for a few weeks. His mom gave him cold medicine, but it didn't help. He also had a rash on his belly. They took him back to the practice to run some more tests. After the tests, he was diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome. Sam was concerned because Elliot and his mother were homeless and he didn't want her left with a kid who could continue to get sick. He wanted to do surgery. After Danielle took Elliot and left the hospital, Cooper and Addison found them in an alley. Elliot was screaming and they rushed him back to the hospital. One of his aneurysms had burst. Sam recommended bypass surgery and Danielle agreed. The surgery went well despite a complication and Elliot was stable afterward.


Song Performer Scene
"Take Me to the River" Al Green
  • Addison and Sam hike and talk about their sex lives and Naomi.
  • Addison suggests that Sam be a surgeon.
  • Pete and Violet meet in the elevator and Violet doesn't acknowledge Lucas at all.
  • Addison sees that Dell's back. Dell's upset because Betsey cried when he took her to school.
  • Kimmy comes in and says she's in labor.
"From Here On Out" Denison Witmer
  • Dell and Violet confide in each other about their trouble with patients.
  • Dell tells Violet she's a good therapist.
  • Danielle takes supplies from a closet, but runs into Cooper on the way out. He says she has a child to think of.
  • Danielle cries as she talks about not being able to get Elliot cheese puffs like he wanted.
"Imaginary Bars" Great Lake Swimmers
  • Danielle stays with Elliot. She thanks Sam for saving his life.
  • Danielle goes to her mom and asks if she wants to see Elliot.
  • Violet thanks Ty and Colette for coming in.
"The Only Ones" The Sounds
  • Dell tells Kimmy it's time.
  • Cooper tells Charlotte he doesn't have the money and that is embarrassing for him.
  • Sam celebrates the rush of surgery with Addison.
  • Charlotte gives them a check for Cooper and a blank check for herself to become part of the practice.
  • Pete tells Violet him throwing Lucas in her face wasn't fair, so he's moving to Pacific Wellcare.
  • Violet tries to clean the floor as she rants about Pete and Lucas. The cleaner doesn't work, so she takes a sledgehammer and breaks up the floor.

Notes and Trivia[]


Private Practice 3x04 Promo

  • This episode scored 9.93 million viewers.


Episode Stills[]


Sheldon: Do you always stuff your feelings with food?
Naomi: Yes.
Sheldon: Interesting.

See Also[]

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