I don't make friends easily. I'm awkward and I am bad at small talk and generally don't like people I don't know.
— Erica Hahn
Erica Hahn is a cardiothoracic surgeon who briefly worked at Seattle Grace Hospital and dated another employee, Callie Torres. She previously worked at Seattle Presbyterian Hospital and attended Johns Hopkins Medical School where she started a fierce rivalry with Preston Burke.
When Erica was a child, she had continuous headaches, she went to the doctors and was told she needed glasses. It made no sense to her but on the car journey home, she shrieked because the little green blobs she had been seeing all her life were actually leaves, and she didn't even know she was missing them.
When Dr. Hahn took up a permanent position at Seattle Grace Hospital, one of the first things she said to Cristina was I date men (believing that Cristina got ahead by sleeping with her superiors). Mark Sloancontinually flirted with her but although they were friends, she insisted that he only wanted her because he couldn't have her, though admitting that they might have had a chance if they didn't work together.
After making a friend of Callie Torres and getting more involved personally, onlookers became suspicious of a bit more to their relationship. Addison Montgomery plants the seed in Callie's head that the two might be lovers, but when confronted, the both laugh it off, though the idea lingers. Following Mark Sloan's persistent, (if only half-joking) suggestions of starting a threesome, Erica asks Mark whether the idea of her and Callie in a relationship would be intimidating to him, and kisses her in the elevator to prove it. A conflicted Callie can't get Erica out of her head, and the two finally confront their feelings and uneasiness about the "new territory", and begin to date. Though both share feelings for each other, Callie and Erica react to the blossoming relationship in different ways. While Callie is unsure what the relationship means for her and her sexuality (still enjoying her sex life with men), after a few nights spent with Callie, Erica realizes that she must be gay, though she admits to relationships with men in the past. For Callie, Erica's revelation makes her nervous and sends her running to Sloan for sex, twice in one day, where she finds the chemistry just as good. Though Callie's bisexuality is not necessarily a failure to commit, Erica is hurt by what she sees as "grey area" in the relationship where she would rather have straight answers. She claims "you can't be kind of a lesbian" and walks away from Callie and Seattle Grace, having lost her only personal ally.
Early in her time at Seattle Grace, when word was being passed of a "Gentleman's evening" planned by the Chief of Surgery to which only the male attendings were invited, Dr. Hahn grilled Dr. Webber on the lack of professionalism of such an event, likening it to the not-so-distant era of racial discrimination. Later in the evening, she crashed their party and beat them at monopoly. Though generally slow to make friends, Erica befriended Callie, seeing in her a strong woman and also another loner. At roughly the same time, she became friends with Mark and Addison when Addison came to visit (although she still had a slight dislike for Mark).
She had a rough relationship with Cristina Yang, consistently denying her the privilege of sucking up, and making her fight her way to stay on the cardio program. Her first day at Seattle Grace, Erica made it clear that personal and professional life would be separate things, telling Cristina "if you had the chops in the operating room, you wouldn't need to impress in the bedroom", referencing Cristina's tendency to have relationships with her former teachers. This harsh attitude didn't go unnoticed. Miranda Bailey, noting Hahn's attitude towards Cristina, advised her to focus on a new surgical speciality (an act of 'reverse psychology' in that by suggesting that she choose something else, Cristina would be more determined to stick with cardio and resist Hahn's hostility). During her brief visit, Addison witnessed some of Hahn's hostility and asked why she was so closed to Cristina. Hahn then admitted to her that Cristina reminded her of herself when she was younger. Richard Webbernoticed this tendency of Hahn to shut Cristina out, particularly after Cristina was able to perform a life saving procedure without assistance despite having learned very little from Hahn. After the surgery Richard confronted Erica, saying that Cristina's work in the OR should have given her reason to celebrate as it showed she was doing her job effectively. However as this clearly was not the case in this instance, he backed Cristina up and insisted that if she wished to remain in the hospital she would have to improve her teaching methods and not destroy the spirits of her residents. As a result Erica made an effort to reevaluate her professional technique. Outside the hospital Hahn was equally hostile to Cristina, being openly rude to her while they were helping Callie move her stuff.
Although originally taking a liking to her, Erica disliked Izzie strongly after discovering that Izzie had been the root of the cause behind one of her patient's losing out on an important heart transplant, due to Izzie's relationship with Denny Duquette. Though generally emotionally detached, Dr. Hahn is indignant at the unfair treatment to her patient, a good man with kids whose chance was taken away. She was not able to recover from the seemingly personal nature of this attack, to which neither the Chief, the hospital, nor Callie would see her side or come to her defense, one of many causes of her eventual break with the hospital.
Alongside Yang, she also maintained a tough edge with Bailey, refusing to operate on Bailey's son while she was in the room and calling her a "blithering idiot" while in the company of her interns ("Forever Young"). Bailey was put in charge of producing a team of surgeons to remove an abdominal leiomyosarcoma from a 10 year old girl, which has been declared inoperable. The family agreed to the surgery only if Hahn was part of the team. From the onset, she was overwhelmingly negative, knocking back all suggestions and having no faith that the patient could possibly survive. The surgery was sucessful and Miranda told Hahn that she deserved no credit for the outcome due to her attitude.
In comparison to Cristina and Izzie, who both expressed interest in pursuing cardiothoracic surgery as their speciality, Hahn's relationship with the other resident was less clear. However, she did request Meredith to be on her service on the basis of her mother's reputation and on one occasion to replace Cristina. She seemed to be on relatively stable terms with George and Alex even giving the latter a complement during a complicated surgery on a baby who was born with his heart outside his chest ("Piece of My Heart").
Dr. Hahn is a long-time rival of Dr. Preston Burke in the field of cardiothoracic surgery, dating back to their days at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where she graduated second after Burke. She was a cardiothoracic attending surgeon at Seattle Presbyterian Hospital.
She and Burke fought over a donor heart, which Burke ultimately won because of faulty information from Izzie pertaining to Denny's condition, and she was contacted for a consult on Harold O'Malley's valve replacement.
Hahn joined the staff of Seattle Grace Hospital after performing a heart transplant at the request of Chief Richard Webber. As such, she became Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Seattle Grace and appropriately dubbed "The New Burke". She left the hospital following the revelation that Izzie was not ever truly punished for what happened with Denny Duquette.
When I was a kid, I would get these headaches, and I went to the doctor, and they said that I needed glasses. I get the glasses, and I put them on, and I'm in the car on the way home, and suddenly I yell. Because the big green blobs that I had been staring at my whole life, they weren't big green blobs. They were leaves on trees. And I didn’t even know I was missing the leaves. I didn't even know that leaves existed, and then...leaves! You, are glasses.
17 Seconds · Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response · Losing My Religion
Grey's Anatomy, Season 3
From a Whisper to a Scream · Don't Stand So Close to Me
Grey's Anatomy, Season 4
Haunt You Every Day · Kung Fu Fighting · Physical Attraction... Chemical Reaction · Forever Young · Crash Into Me, Part 1 · Crash Into Me, Part 2 · Lay Your Hands on Me · Where the Wild Things Are · Piece of My Heart · The Becoming · Losing My Mind · Freedom, Part 1 · Freedom, Part 2
Grey's Anatomy, Season 5
Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 1 · Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 2 · Here Comes the Flood · Brave New World · There's No 'I' in Team · Life During Wartime · Rise Up