'Grey's Anatomy': Did Catherine Survive Her Tumor Surgery

Grey's Anatomy delivered one of its most emotional episodes yet, as Catherine Fox underwent a serious surgery to remove a life-threatening tumor.

"The Winner Takes It All" saw Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Thomas Koracick (Greg Germann) tackle Catherine's (Debbie Allen) giant spinal tumor in an attempt to save her life following her cancer diagnosis.

The episode started with Catherine singing as she got her latest brain scan and her husband Richard (James Pickens Jr.) relying on AA meetings for support ahead of the surgery.

After Richard sent Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) off to see her father, Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry), Richard met with Catherine and Jackson (Jesse Williams). Catherine insists her family acts as her loved ones rather than more doctors in the room, and heads off on a walk on her own before the procedure.

Catherine heads to the operating room and stands in silence. Jackson walks in and tries to talk to her, but she interrupts him remembering how she felt terrified during her first surgery. She recalled seeking solace with Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" at the time, and playing it on a loop in her head throughout her life whenever she felt scared or lost.

Jackson remembers doing the same thing and singing a song on his head for his first surgery, and the two pledge to be together so they can sneak into his daughter Harriett's first surgery to see her do the same.

Letting the sweet moment pass, Catherine begins to instruct her son about what has to happen with her foundation should she die or become incapacitated during surgery. She reveals that if she does come out of it unscathed, she also planned her party to celebrate the good news.

Koracick and Amelia seem hesitant before the procedure, but after having a pep talk the docs agree to "keep her alive." In typical Catherine fashion, she bosses everyone around before going under and says goodbye to Richard with a kiss and a "see you when I wake up." The whole O.R. then dances to Catherine's favorite song before the procedure begins.

The doctors listen to music loudly as the procedure goes on, with Jackson and Richard seemingly getting more worried as the hours go by. Things get complicated when the doctors hit a snag and are forced to move her body, risking severe consequences.

Despite the setback, Amelia and Koracick get to the point where they can remove the tumor. A problem arises when they realize taking it out could cause her to lose her arm. Richard comes up with a revolutionary method to finishing the surgery with a new instrument and he rushes to get it.

The machine allows them to make sure that the cancer was gone, and by the end of the episode she wakes up saying she can feel her arms and legs. However, the doctors tell her that they had to leave a piece of the tumor so her battle is not yet over and she will likely have to live with it for the rest of her life.


Though they didn't get all of it, Catherine is grateful for having a new lease on life despite it not being perfect ending.

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.