We live out our lives on the surgical unit. Seven days a week, fourteen ways of residency - become the ways of life. Number one: always keep score. Number two: do whatever you can to outsmart the other guy. Number three: don't make friends with the enemy. Oh, and yeah, number four: everything, everything is a competition. Whoever said that winning wasn't everything never held a scalpel. there's another way to survive this competition. A way no one ever seems to tell you about. One you have to learn for yourself. Number five: it's not about the race at all. There are no winners or losers. Victories are counted by the number of lives saved. And once in a while, if you're smart, the life you save could be your own.
Winning a Battle, Losing the War
Season 1, Episode 3
Air date April 10, 2005
Written by Shonda Rhimes
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Episode Guide transcript
The First Cut Is the Deepest
No Man's Land

Winning a Battle, Losing the War is the third episode of the first season and the 3rd overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.


A bike race injuries several people, one of whom is left brain dead. Cristina and Izzie want to use his organs for organ donation, but they find the organ harvesting process an emotional one. Meanwhile, George deals with an over-flirtatious patient, and Meredith has to deal with Izzie and George moving in, Alex showing off, and keeping Derek at arm's length.


Meredith is in bed. It's 4:37 am and raining.

Izzie stars from beside Meredith's bed holding some coffee saying that George's bedroom is bigger than hers. Meredith gets up but trips and falls flat on her face. She limps away.

Following her, Izzie explains that she needs the space as she has more clothes.

George butts in saying he got there first but Izzie says that its Meredith's decision.

George tells Izzie that his room is just two inches bigger than hers but Izzie says that he has a bigger closet.

George tells Izzie to just put her clothers somewhere else but she insists that everywhere is filled with Meredith's mother's boxes. They hesitantly ask Meredith if they can put the boxes in storage or unpack a few things like lamps, paintings or pillows to make the house more homey. Izzie and George quickly ask if they can watch the tapes of surgical procedures from one of her mother's boxes but Meredith slams a door in their faces; a moment later, she re-opens it and takes Izzie's coffee and shuts the door again. She slumps against the other side of the door, holding her coffee.

Bailey stands on a street corner looking confused, Derek joins her and says hello but she tells him to be quiet and that something important is to happen today but she can't remember it. Derek walks forward to cross the road, Bailey gasps and grabs him as several bike riders race past and two crash.

At the hospital, Bailey complains to the interns saying they're just fools on bikes killing themselves. Alex asks George if Bailey is off her medication and George is surprised he never heard of the race. Webber, Burke, and Shepherd are standing in front of the OR Schedule board. They note its done out well so they might get an early night but Bailey tells him that "Dead baby bike race day" started 20 minutes ago. George and Meredith explain that every year a bar hold an underground bike race and that is completely illegal. Bailey begins complaining again, "Crazy, a bunch of bike messengers racing against traffic trying to beat each other for free shots of tequila". Bailey tells them she needs someone to get up to the OR floor, the chief needs a right hand. Everyone's hands shoot up and Bailey picks George.

Bailey warns the others not to mingle with the ER interns. They are to sew fast, discharged fast, take bodies up to the OR yesterday. Her final warning is not to fight over patients. The interns run and jostle for position and see injuried bike riders everywhere. Izzie and Cristina race off to grab a patient.

Meredith sees a man with nails in his side. Alex and Meredith race towards him.

Behind a curtain, Alex and Meredith fight over the patient but after a while of them arguing, the patient, Viper, pulls back the curtain and asks if they can just take the nails out so that he can win his race. Meredith tells him that they have to run some tests first but Alex just takes them out telling Meredith that its a superficial wound, ot surgical. Alex leaves Meredith to sew him up.

Cristina, Izzie, and Derek stand over a patient. Cristina tells Derek that he is an "unidentified John Doe, mid-thirties pedestrian, hit by a motorist swerving to avoid a bike, GCS 3, pupils and dilated, atropine given for a pulse in the forties". She continues to diagnose him and Burke announces that the bike race claimed its first victim. Izzie asks if he will be brought to the OR but Derek tells her just to perform confirmatory tests and if he doesn't respond in six hours they should declare him brain dead.

Webber is in surgery and George appears asking if he should scrub in. Webber says no, he is stuck in the OR all day so George has to monitor his pre-op and post-op patients. Webber tells him to pay special attention to a friend of his in room 4451 called Lloyd Mackie. In his bed, Lloyd lights a cigarette but George tells him he has to put it out and smoking kills. Lloyd says that liver cancer will kill him and the cigarettes are just speeding it up. George insists there is hope, that he is at the top of the donor list. Lloyd tells him he has been at the top of the donor list for eight months.

Izzie and Cristina are with their patient. Izzie worries that he won't respond and they only have 5 hours left but Cristina tells her that if he doesn't respond to the tests it means hes alread dead. Cristina then says that she just wants him to hurry up and go into the light so she can get another case. Izzie looks shocked, she talks about how its a waste of his life. Cristina then says it is a waste of good organs too and Izzie catches on to her plan.

Meredith sews up Viper and while she does, he flirts with her calling her a "rocking babe." She ignores it and pleads with him to let her do some tests and that she could have gone within an hour. He tells her no, he has to finish the race so before he goes she asks him to sign an AMA form. After he signs the form, he gets up to leave but turns around, grabs Meredith and kisses her. Viper leaves and Meredith shakes her head and begins to strip the bed. She looks up and sees Derek standing outside. Derek enters and Meredith asks if hes jealous, he tells her he isn't but he almost died today, how would she feel if she never got to go out with him. She tells him to get over himself and then asks him if its the chase. Derek looks surprised but Meredith tells him its the thrill of the chase and its just a game to him.

Bailey is doing a surgery and Izzie and Cristina come in. They ask if they can harvest their patient's organs. Surprised, Bailey tells them that if they can ID the patient, contact his family and get consent forms. Izzie and Cristina hurry away. Alex walks over to a desk where George is. George explains that he is hiding from Lloyd because he thinks Lloyd may be attracted to him. Alex tells him to go for it but quicly realizes that George isn't gay. George looks shocked as Alex walks away. Izzie and Cristina come up to the other desk. George asks Cristina if she or Meredith think he's gay. She asks him if he is and when he says no, she is surprised. A woman comes over to Izzie and Cristina returns there. Izzie hands over a hotel key card for her to give to the police and when they finish talking, George asks if they really have a potential organ donor. He asks for the blood type and then compares with his chart.

Izzie looks at her John Doe and speaks to him, "Okay, well, I know you probably can't hear me, and you're feeling this big push to go towards the light, where everything is all haloes and all-you-can-eat buffets and stuff, and I mean, sharing your organs is really great and all, but I think you have a family. I can feel it. So I think it'd be great if you could do me a favor, and get better. Just... live. So you think you could give that a shot for me?" Suddenly, an alarm goes off and he begins to crash and his pulse drops. Meredith runs in and after a few tense moments they decide to get the dopamine, and the blood to transfuse him.

George examines Mackie while Mackie flirts with him while Izzie and Meredith go up some stairs. Cristina meets them and she is excited because their patient could become an organ donor but Izzie insists that he gets the surgery to live. Cristina then tells Meredith that they need to go higher than Bailey for their plan to work. Cut to Burke in the men's room.

In the men's bathroom, Meredith and Cristina look in to see Burke. They ask him to repair John Doe's heart and he notes they like to cross the line, he then tells them to either whip out a penis or get out.

Meredith asks Derek for advice so he hesitantly tells her to go over Burke's head and got to the chief. Izzie, Meredith and Cristina asks George if he wants to be in a transplant surgery. When Webber asks how Mackie is doing, George tells him they can have a liver for Mackie and the chief listens intently. Alex sees the others watching George and webber. Burke walks past and Webber stops him to tell him about the surgery. As Burke looks at the other interns, they hurry away. Alex stays, and when Burke turns to leave, goes after him.

In the open heart surgery, Alex assists Burke. From the gallery, the interns glare at Alex but Izzie is just happy their patient is getting the surgery. A nurse enters and tells Izzie that their John Doe has been identified and his wife is coming.

Derek introduces the wife, Shelle Davidson, to Izzie and then leaves, telling them to page them if they need to. Izzie tells her that her husband could wake but if she'd considered organ donation for Kevin. Webber shakes Mackie's shoulder lightly, he tells him that George found him a liveer. Mackie glances up at Webber and then to George. His face begins to break up and he looks away, trying desperately not to cry while Webber pats his shoulder. George leaves. Alex bursts into the locker room to see Meredith, he tells her he smells of open-heart surgery and then starts nuzzling her hair. Meredith turns around grabbng him, pushing him against the lockers by his shirt. She tells him to stay out of her way and that he smells like crap. She turns and they both see Derek. Meredith goes back to her locker, she then goes to really attack him and Derek tells Alex to leave. He pushes Alex out the door and closes it while Alex pulls a face with Meredith. She closes her locker and makes as if to leave, he opens the door for her and she looks at him again for a few seconds, then strides away. Meredith enters her apartment while Izzie and George go through video tapes. Meredith is furious, asking why they touched her mother's surgical tapes. She storms upstairs and Izzie and George exchange looks and giggle.

Outside the hospital, Meredith explains to Cristina about how perky and helpful her roommates are and Cristina's suggests that she kick them out but Meredith decides that she can't. Alex comes up behind them as they enter the hospital he complains about being stuck in the pit again and Cristina getting the harvest surgery, annoyed with Alex they both jokingly consider becoming lesbians. The elevator dings but they go for the stairs.

Cristina talks to Kevin's wife and little girl. She goes over the form for the organ donation with her but when Shelley gets teary, Cristina leaves the room explaining to Bailey she isn't a people person and it is too hard. Bailey tells her that no one said it would be easy for her but the man is a person not just someone to harvest organs from. Remembering this, Cristina re-enters the room and talks with Shelley again. George examines Mackie. When Mackie begins to flirt with him again, George awkwardly tries to tell Mackie that he is not gay. Mackie smiles and explains that he never thought George was gay and neither is he. He tells George that dying is a get-out-of-jail-free card. He can be as bold as he wants, and there's nothing anybody can say about it. He proceeds to ask George if there was ever anyone George was attracted to but couldn't have, after a while George says, Meredith. In the organ harvest preparation, Burke talks about how he never like harvesting because he saves lives and harvesting ended one, Izzie quietly whispers to Kevin that he did his best and says her goodbyes.

Meredith and Alex work in Trauma and Meredith sees Viper waiting in a chair. She asks Alex what he is there and for how long, but Alex says he doesn't know, he was busy on real cases. Viper starts to cough and Meredith walks worriedly towards him. He tries to get up and she runs to him, but he falls unconvious and blood is starts to come out of his mouth. She lifts up his shirt and sees that his stitches have ripped open and the area around them has swelled up to the size of a small melon. Meredith gets Viper on a gurney, she gets on top of him and tries to hold his wound closed, she asks a nurse to tell the OR she is on her way and to page Bailey. They arrive and go into the OR. Bailey tells Meredith to scrub in and for Alex to get back down stairs as punishment for only having time for the hot cases. Mackie goes into surgery and the chief has him count backwards.

Izzie and Cristina scrub in and Webber and Burke enter. He tells them he'll be next door when they're ready. They operate. The organs are placed in plastic bags and special sealed containers. The live is placed on ice and George takes it and hands it to Webber, who places it in Mackie. Back to the harvest,  and beeping has commenced. The heart is being removed. Everyone packs up to go, but Izzie remains. Cristina looks back at her and Izzie explains Shelley that she wants to sew him up for his family, Cristina turns back to help her. Cristina and Izzie later meet Shelley and tell her he is ready. Cristina looks pensive to Viper's friends, who are also waiting. Bailey and Meredith walk out to see them. Bailey then starts shouting, "Is he okay? No. No, he is not okay, at all. He hurled his body down a concrete mountain at full speed for no good reason. Yeah, I know you all pierce yourselves and smoke up and generally treat your bodies like your grungy asses can't break down to A, you want to kill yourselves, flying down a concrete mountain, go to it, but there are other people walking, people driving, people trying live their lives on the concrete mountain, and one of them got his brains scrambled today because one of you lirrle sniffling no-good snot-rag." Meredith interrupts her so Bailey calms down telling them that in her opinion, he is not fine, she storms off. Awkwardly, Meredith tells them that Bailey is tired but Viper will make it.

Meredith packs up her things in the lcoker room and Derek comes in and shuts the door. He tells her it is not the chase, its not a game, its her hair. Meredith raises her eyebrows and he explains that it smells nice. He then says it is also her bossiness. She tells him she still won't go out with him but he leaves saying, "You say that now." George tells Mackie the surgery went smoothly and Mackie sureses, he has to quit smoking and then smiles, holding George's hand.

Meredith opens her front door. Izzie, Cristina and George are eating pizza, drinking beer, and watching a surgical tape. Everyone stops to look at Meredith and George quickly blurts out that Cristina made them watch the tapes.

Meredith asks what they are watching, sits down and grabs some popcorn. They watch for a few seconds and then suddenly, they all recoil screaming and laughing with shock at the tape.


Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit



Medical NotesEdit


  • Diagnosis: Deep lacerations to abdomen due to spoke wheels from a bik
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment: Stitches and Later Surgery

Kevin DavidsonEdit

  • Diagnosis: Brain-death from collision with a bike, as well as heart and cir
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment: Dopamine and blood transfusion as well as cardiothoracis su

Lloyd MackieEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Richard Webber (General Surgeon)
  • Geore
  • Treatment:





See AlsoEdit

==See Also==