Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response

Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response
"Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response"
Grey's Anatomy episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 26
Directed by Rob Corn
Written by Joan Rater, Tony Phelan
Production code 226
Original air date May 15, 2006 (ABC)
Guest stars

Chris O'Donnell as Dr. Finn Dandrige.
Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Denny Duquette.
Loretta Devine as Adele Webber.
Brooke Smith as Dr. Erica Hahn.
Tessa Thompson as Camille Travis.
Hallee Hirsh as Claire.
Tiffany Hines as Natalie.
Sarah Utterback as Nurse Olivia Harper.

Episode chronology
← Previous
"17 Seconds"
Next →
"Losing My Religion"
List of Grey's Anatomy episodes

"Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response" is the 26th episode from the second season of the medical drama show Grey's Anatomy. It is part two of a three part season finale, aired along side with Losing my religion on May 15, 2006, running for 43:01 min.


Main cast

Plot synopsis


Denny needs a heart or else he cannot survive. Izzie Stevens and George go crazy trying to get him one. Derek has the life of a friend in his hands as he operates on Burke who has been shot. Burke cannot operate on Denny after Denny's heart stopped and now Denny is in a dire condition. Cristina gets put in charge of Trauma Room 2 and she is worried about Burke.

Expanded Overview

Burke has been shot and Izzie has just cut Denny's LVAD wire. George, Meredith, and Cristina all wind up helping Izzie keep Denny alive long enough to get moved up the transplant list and get the heart in question. Addison figures out that Richard's niece's (Camille) cancer has unfortunately returned. Bailey and Derek are attending to Burke—and it's Derek who must operate on Burke to help save his surgical skills. Richard and his wife discuss his past affair with Ellis Grey. Meanwhile Alex desperately stalls at Mercy West in order to maintain possession of the donor heart while the rest of the interns struggle with each other in their fear of losing their places in the programs as well as Denny, who makes a surprise marriage proposal to Izzie amidst the madness.

After Bailey discovers the interns and Denny's situation, she helps them confirm Denny should receive the heart. Burke decides to have the surgery performed, risking nerve damage. But during his surgery, Derek must perform a wake-up test to check for nerve damage, and he asks Cristina for her help. But Cristina, horrified at the sight of Burke in pain on the table, freezes. Alex travels with Dr. Hahn from Mercy West with the heart, scrubbing in with Dr. Bailey for Denny's transplant. However, after the heart has been inserted, it still does not begin to beat and back in Derek's OR, Burke still cannot move his fingers...


  • The starting narration of this episode saw every main character appearing that episode contribute snippets of speech. The end narration though was done by Meredith.
  • The actress Tessa Thompson who plays Camille Travis, Chief Webber's niece, three years later appears on Private Practice, playing a different role.


  1. "Universe & U (Acoustic Extravaganza Version)" by KT Tunstall
  2. "Look At Her Face" by The Coral Sea
  3. "Through The Backyards" by Au Revoir Simone
  4. "How We Operate" by Gomez

Title reference

The episode's title refers to a song by The Flaming Lips released as a B side on their first UK CD single of their song Fight Test.

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