Cristina Yang may be considered one of Grey’s Anatomy‘s best surgeons, but she was extremely lucky to stay at the hospital as long as she did since there were plenty of occasions where she was at risk of getting fired. Like Meredith, Cristina joined the show back in season 1 to begin her internship at Seattle Grace Hospital (now Grey-Sloan Memorial). Straight away, viewers could see that she had the potential to become an exceptional surgeon as her surgical skills and medical knowledge were amazing. She also came up with such innovative ideas that viewers knew she would one day be nominated for a Catherine Fox award.
However, that doesn’t mean she didn’t have her flaws. While Cristina’s passion for surgery was one of her more admirable traits, there have been a few times when her enthusiasm and overexcitement led to her making several reckless and grave mistakes. It may have provided a lot of drama, but the fact of the matter is that if Cristina was actually a doctor in real life, she would have likely been fired and lost her medical license for some of these instances.
7Cristina Has Broken HIPPA A Few Times
While it’s likely done in the show to help move the plot along, but there have been a few occasions where Cristina and several other characters have broken HIPPA codes. The first time Cristina did it was in season 1, episode 1, “A Hard’s Day Night” when she was working with Derek and Meredith on the Katie Bryce case.
Although it might not appear to be a big deal to viewers, according to the medical professional Doctor Mike, it is against the law to discuss this information in front of people who aren’t involved in the case as it opens them to lawsuits worth millions. While Cristina would have likely gotten off with a warning this time around, it’s likely that she would have eventually gotten fired as she continued to do this later down the line (for instance, although she meant well, she broke the code again by telling Alex and Bailey about Izzie’s cancer diagnosis).
6Not Reporting The Intern Cabal
Although Cristina did try and do the right thing in reprimanding the interns for performing sutures on themselves, unfortunately, she didn’t seem to learn her lesson from her first couple of scandals as she failed to report the incident to her superiors. While she was punished by not being able to operate, the consequences could have been a lot harsher – especially if Sadie had died on their watch. It also broke a ton of health violations as well. If this scandal occurred in the real world, it’s likely she would have been dismissed.
5Performing Unauthorized Surgery
Like many of the other residents and skilled surgeons on Grey’s Anatomy, Cristina’s job was on the line once again after she performed an unauthorized surgery and ignored her supervisor’s advice. This occurred in season 6’s “Invest in Love” when Cristina defied Owen when he requested she waited for Cardio to remove the air embolism from the patient. Not only did she break medical protocol, but she could have even lost her license if something had gone wrong. She could have faced disciplinary action if the Doctor didn’t believe she was up for the job.
4Cristina Mistreats And Bullies The Interns/Her Colleagues
While Cristina is often considered to be one of Grey’s Anatomy’s best characters, often providing much entertainment with her sarcastic nature, most fans will likely agree that her blunt and unfiltered opinions would have also got her fired. As much as she is a great surgeon, the way Cristina behaves towards her colleagues is extremely unprofessional as she often creates a hostile work environment by verbally abusing and mistreating them (e.g. she called the interns by numbers or the Seven Dwarves and she often mocked April over her sex life).
Even when they expressed their discomfort with the nicknames she called them or the insults she aimed at them, she never showed any remorse for her actions and even laughed them off. If one of the interns or her colleagues decided to report her behavior to HR, it’s likely that she would have been dismissed.
3Performing An Illegal Autopsy
While she certainly wouldn’t have done it by the time she left in season 10, Cristina was seen to break another medical protocol when she and Izzie decided to perform an illegal autopsy without getting consent from the patient’s family (season 1, episode 9, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”). Although she was lucky that they managed to find the cause of death and provide the family with some much-needed answers, Cristina may not have realized how serious this was as going against the family’s wishes could have resulted in her losing her license and also a prison sentence. She was really lucky to have not been kicked out then.
2Covering Up Burke’s Hand Issues
One of the most shocking things Cristina ever did on Grey’s Anatomy was helping Burke cover up the tremor in his hand. After Burke was shot in the season 2 episode, “Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response”, he struggled with his recovery as the nerve damage to his hand began to affect his surgical skills.
Although Cristina decided to help him with his rehabilitation with simple exercises, they took it too far when they decided to begin operating on several patients, not realizing how dangerous this could have been given that Cristina wasn’t qualified to do some procedures. It was astounding that Cristina didn’t face harsher consequences when the truth came out as it could have backfired and led to some patients being seriously injured or killed.
1Participating & Covering Up The L-VAD Situation
Grey’s Anatomy fans have seen Cristina bounce back from a lot of mistakes. However, there was a major concern for her career after it seemed like she would lose her job after participating in the Denny Duquette L-VAD situation (season 2’s “Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response”). Although Cristina wasn’t the one who did the deed, she ended up being complicit in the scandal as she refused to reveal the truth as to what happened in the room and didn’t report the incident as soon as it happened. Given that the crime involved the group stealing an organ and compromising a patient’s health, she definitely would have been fired.