|“||Once you're the president, you're always Mr. President.||”|
— Richard Webber
Richard Webber is an attending general surgeon, the Residency Program Director, and the former Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. He was married to Adele Webber until her death and is now married to Catherine Avery.
Richard was introduced as the Chief of Surgery, the man of authority on the surgical floor and the final arbiter of any disputes pertaining to his staff and his hospital. He was also presented as a very decorated surgeon with many awards and accomplishments.
Affair with EllisEdit
Tumor and RecoveryEdit
Richard started having trouble seeing, and not completing simple surgeries. It turned out that he had developed a tumor, pressing against his optic nerve, and let Derek operate to remove it, under the radar of all the surgical floor. Later, he fought with Derek to write him out for surgery.
Starting Drinking AgainEdit
Richard was later found to be off the wagon and drinking again. This caused him to lose his job as Chief of Surgery for a period of time to Derek Shepherd, who told the board about his problem even though Meredith had attempted to stop him. He eventually sobered up again and after Derek stepped down following the shooting, he was able to regain the position.
His wife, Adele, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Throughout the next year, Richard dealt with her Alzheimer's becoming worse. She eventually asked Richard to place her in the Roseridge Home for Extended Care. Richard visited her a lot as he wanted to assure her that he was still there for her, but soon after she stopped recognizing him and started a romantic relationship with Allan, a fellow resident in the care facility. At first, Richard resisted, thinking Allan was taking advantage, but he soon realized Allan had Alzheimer's too and that his anger wasn't helping Adele. He then allowed Allan to take his place.
Relationship with CatherineEdit
Richard and Catherine were both examiners at the boards exam. The night before the Boards, Catherine and Richard ended up sleeping together. That is when their relationship started.
Not long after that, Adele died of a heart attack after coming out of surgery.
Electrocution and RecoveryEdit
After his electrocution, Richard briefly opened his eyes to see how Heather, the first one to find him in the basement, got electrocuted herself and severly bumped her head. Both she and Richard were later found by Shane, who alarmed other doctors. Together with Cristina, Bailey started taking care of Richard. While his labs showed that his lactate was two, Richard started coding but they managed to revive him, after which Cristina successfully pulled off the difficult procedure to place a balloon pump without rupturing Richard's aorta. This stabilized Richard's heart and he was sent to the ICU. When his labs came back again, Richard's lactate was six, and Bailey felt he had an acute abdomen. She worried. She wanted to operate on him to look for and repair possible intra-abdominal tissue damage, but Cristina insisted his heart couldn't handle the surgery. They kept bickering, until Owen reminded them to look into his medical directive. Meredith turned out to be his medical proxy, and she decided to run his labs again, and if the lactate was above six, they could operate. A little later, his labs showed that his lactate was nine, so he was wheeled into the OR with some of the doctors watching him.
However, the surgery was interrupted by Catherine Avery, who yelled at Owen and Bailey to close him up. As they hadn't found anything on the bowels yet and Richard's heart started to get unstable again, they listened to her and closed him up. Richard stabilized again after he was closed up. Catherine demanded access to Richard's chart and labs, and started to plan to move him to another hospital once he was stable enough. However, behind her back, Meredith was convinced by Bailey's feeling that something's wrong inside his abdomen, and doing nothing about it is worse than operating. She took her phone and booked an OR for Bailey to explore Richard's abdomen again. They did find necrotic tissue around the pancreas, and Bailey was extremely happy. "When you know, you know!" she said, just as Richard always taught them. After surgery, Richard was taken back to the ICU. As Catherine started bickering with Bailey and Meredith over how he still hadn't regained conciousness, Richard opened his eyes just as Meredith told Catherine that Richard chose her to be his family and to make his decisions for him.
His recovery didn't start out well as he continued to lose weight. Meredith was on maternity leave, so Bailey was now in charge of his case. When presenting the case, Shane recommended a feeding tube, but Richard refused this with Bailey supporting him in this. Behind Bailey and Richard's backs, Shane called Meredith to inform her on Richard's condition and she advised him to already order a feeding tube so it would be ready whenever Richard was ready to have it. Shane did so, but Bailey and Richard found out. They were not going to change their course of treatment, and Shane was ordered to bring Richard some soup. From outside the room, Shane noticed how much difficulties Richard was having to swallow it. When Cristina informed her over the phone that Richard stil didn't have a feeding tube, Meredith felt like she abandoned Richard and failed to be a good family member, so she came to the hospital to read his labs herself. She and Shane tried to convince Bailey, who supported Richard in his decision not to have a feeding tube because it completely takes away one's dignity. Meredith pointed out that dying does too, and that would happen if they wouldn't place a feeding tube. Bailey then agreed to have another look at Richard's swallow studies with her. While they were doing so, Shane entered Richard's room and listed the consequences of not allowing a feeding tube. He told Richard that he was offering to place the tube now that they were alone, or they could wait for Meredith to do it. Richard realized that a feeding tube was necessary and allowed Shane to place it. That evening, Meredith sat by his bedside, apologizing for being such bad family. He aggressively told her that she wasn't his family and that he had made the wrong decision to make her his medical proxy as she was too weak and sentimental. He said that she shouldn't have brought him back to life, meaning he would rather be dead right now. Meredith then let go of his hand as he turned his head away from her.
He continued down the path of self-destruction. Meredith told Bailey, who kept on worrying, that forcing treatment wouldn't help, he just needed to hit rock bottom. Bailey then instructed a nurse to start Richard on CPAP, which the nurse said he wouldn't like. Bailey said he didn't have to like it, he just had to do it. However, when the nurse came to his room, he started fighting her and said he didn't want breathing treatments. Bailey came into the room and told him about her other patient, who wouldn't stop fighting despite having no options. This was ontrasted with Richard, who had many options but refused to try. She stated she wasn't okay with letting him die like Meredith was, so she was giving a choice. He then reached for the breathing apparatus, but only to throw it across the room. Bailey then wrestled with him to get him to wear the oxygen mask, until he aggressively pushed her away into a chair. However, Bailey put her patient in Richard's room, where the patient pointed out that Richard didn't look like he would be around much longer. Bailey gave them brochures for facilities that do end-of-life care, figuring that they could go through them together as they were in the same boat. While talking with Gene, Richard realized he didn't want to die in the hospital and took the breathing apparatus to start working on his lungs, with Bailey watching and smiling from outside the room.
Together, they continued working on his recovery until he was able to stand up and walk to the chair in his room. They called Catherine to show her the progress they made. When he showed her what he could do, he refused to accept help from Bailey, who smilingly pointed out he was now acting all too cool for school because Catherine was in the room. Leah and Shane felt a little awkward when had to strip his JP drain and they helped him get back in bed, while Bailey and Catherine talked outside about his recovery. She expected more of the recovery, but Bailey says all he need is support. Noticing how awkward the interns were acting when they needed to examine Richard, Catherine wanted him to come home with her. She pointed out he wasn't progressing in this hospital, as they were all cuddling him because they love and fear him. Ultimately, it was a disservice to him and Catherine added he needed to be pushed and not cuddled. Keeping this in mind, he told Leah that cuddling makes her a bad doctor and he ordered her to give him a proper hands on examination. Catherine overheard how Leah correctly diagnosed a pancreatic leak and complimented the bossy Richard as she came into the room. As Leah left, Richard said that the interns would have to learn to look him in the eye and answer his questions. He then answered her question to come home with her, saying that he needed to stay in the hospital as they needed him there.
Determined to teach the interns, Richard used his physical condition as a teaching tool. He had a constant shoulder pain and he wanted Jo to come up with the correct diagnosis. Meredith interrupted to ask Bailey something about portal vein graft research, and Richard replied that it was her mother's research. She has written about it in one of the journals gave him. Back to his case, Richard told Jo that she would be kicked off the case if she couldn't find a solid answer about his pain. Her first attempt was to attach him to a scanner. While she was trying to get a clear read, Richard pulled off the sensors. He told her the pain wasn't caused by his heart or something he did, and he advised her to look deeper. She then came up with doing X-rays. He asked her what she thought she would find. Something clicked in her head an she suddenly realized he needed an ultrasound instead. Doing the ultrasound, she enthusiasticly diagnosed him with a pancreatic pseudocyst. She started cheering because she found the answer, and explained how she got to it. He told her to work on her bedside manner and she apologized. He smiled and said he finally felt like he was in good hands.
After Jo diagnosed him with the pancreatic pseudocyst, Richard revealed he would allow one of the second year residents to perform the surgery to fix it. Stephanie was already out, as she walked into a wall after her eye surgery. Bailey doubted they were capable of doing the surgery, but they were able to walk her through the procedure. Richard then tasked Bailey to observe the residents in the ER and decide which one was going to operate. In the ER, Leah and Shane dropped out too. Bailey started ranting about how incompetent the residents were, but Richard came to their defense and said that she was the problem. Teaching the residents is the only thing that kept him going when it was still unsure he'd ever operate again, and she was standing in the way of that as she wouldn't let them learn. He said he'd have someone else supervise them and fired her from his case. He then asked Meredith to observe the residents and choose one to perform the cystogastrostomy. She told him she didn't have time as she had a Halloween party to get to, but when he said he would have never gotten where he was now if it weren't for her and begged her to help him teach the residents, she agreed. She chose Jo, who pulled off the surgery with success. After the surgery, Richard asked Meredith to talk him through the whole surgery from the beginning, but Meredith allows Jo to do this in the interest of education.
Whenever he wasn't teaching, Richard filled his days with telling old surgical stories over and over again to anyone who would listen. One of his stories taught Stephanie the two-challenge rule. His next door patient, CJ, got tired of it when he asked the residents to come back for the end of a story and yelled from her room that everyone knows the end because he'd told it so many times. He holded of on exercise, which Meredith noticed. She asked if he was planning to leave the hospital, because his room didn't look like he was. CJ walked by and asked him to join her on her walk, so he could hear some new stories, which she told him he needed. He said he'd catch up with her later, again refusing to get out of bed. Later that day, she was talking him through a recipe when she suddenly stopped talking as Richard heard a clattering. Richard then rushed out of bed, and saw CJ collapsed on the floor. He called for help and asked for a crash cart as he started performing CPR on CJ. After he saved CJ, Richard felt exhausted in a good way. He told April that it was time for him to start working to get out of bed and be himself again. At the end of the day, Richard checked on CJ and took a walk with Callie, while telling her the story of what happened that day.
In a wheelchair, Richard left the hospital for the first time in months when April drove him to the courthouse to support Callie during her malpractice lawsuit.
To get out of the hospital, Richard had to pass a treadmill stress test. He failed every time, but pushed Jo and Meredith to allow another one. In his room, he tried to convince Meredith he was a waste of a bed, but she replied his stress test was a disaster. He claimed he had been practicing and was thereby an other man than he was last week. Meredith proposed to get him into a rehab facility as he couldn't go home on his own, but Richard refused and said he'd get a home health aid. This convinced Meredith to allow another test, which he said he'd pass, flying colors. She then invited him to the Thanksgiving Dinner at her house, and he accepted the invitation when he found out she wasn't cooking the dinner. While preparing for the treadmill test, he and Jo started talking about preparing a Thanksgiving turkey. During the treadmill test, Jo wanted to stop because his heart rate was pretty high. He wanted her to take up the treadmill, but when she refused, he did it himself. He had to start running, but couldn't keep up and fell off the treadmill. Jo called for help, and Derek and Callie came in, confirming his own diagnosis of broken ribs. Because she felt sorry about what happened, Jo and the other interns decided to hang out with Richard at the hospital at Thanksgiving. As none of them could cook a turkey, they decided to settle on fried chicken and biscuits.
After he healed up, Richard passed the stress test and he was allowed to leave the hospital with a box filled with his personal stuff. He was wheeled to the elevator with several doctors seeing him off. He didn't understand why they were making such a big deal out of it and said he wanted a break from all of them. Bailey said he got himself better, but he said she was the one who did that. Not long after, Richard came back to the hospital. He met Bailey in the surgical skills lab, as he wanted to practice his skills for his return to surgery and didn't want to just sit around at home. Unknown to him, Bailey was trying to do 5 stitches without showing OCD behavior. He rearranged the surgical instruments on her tray. Later, Bailey yelled at Dr. Alma that she wasn't going to take the pills. Richard offered to join her to April's bridal shower to take a break, but she declined. After having yelled compliments and eaten a lot of fingergood at the shower, Richard returned to the skills lab. He said that she called him a drunk before the accident. She started apologizing for that, but he said she was right: he is an alcoholic, which is why he was at the hospital instead of home, because he was afraid he'd start drinking at home out of loneliness and boredom. He said he always wants a drink because he has a disease that can't be cured, only managed, but not alone. He told Bailey that she had to accept that she has a disease and needs help, after which she picked up the pill bottle and took one out of it.
Richard scheduled his first little surgery back on the day of April's wedding. Almost everyone would be at the wedding, so there wouldn't be anyone around to make a big fuzz about it. On the same day, Bailey started operating again and he told her he was proud of her. However, his plans had to change. While he was preparing for the surgery, Leah came running over and begged him for help. He accompanied her to the OR, where he found Shane staring at Jimmy Evans's chest. While ordering Leah to get rescrubbed, he asks Shane what they got. Shane kept on saying how he did this and that it's his fault, while blocking Jimmy's chest with his hands. Richard took a look and concludes they needed bypass. He tried to convince Shane to take some rest, but Shane said that she would be dead when he'd come back. He added that it's his fault because he sent her to the basement. Richard then realized he was talking about Heather and what happened to her, remembering how he saw her get electrocuted. Richard assured Shane that she would be fine, and that he needed to take some rest. As Shane left the OR, Richard got inside Jimmy's thorax and yelled to page someone from cardio. Jimmy deteriorated, leaving Richard performing heart massage on Alex's father.
Richard is a determined teacher and boss who cares a lot for his personnel and the hospital itself.
His private life is devoted to his professional one. Without his job, he doesn't have a real reason to live, especially after his wife, Adele Webber, died. He was a loving husband towards her, despite the fact that he cheated on her and put his duties in the hospital above everything.
He has always cared for Meredith Grey as if he was her father. He decided to mentor her personally and make sure she became a great general surgeon.
During their residency at Seattle Grace, he had an affair with Meredith's mother, Ellis Grey, although both were married. Although Ellis left her husband, Richard could not bring himself to leave his wife, Adele. He would learn decades later, however, that Adele had known about the affair all along and stayed with him anyway. He later confessed that he ended the affair because he believed that Ellis deserved better and that he had too much baggage.
When Dr. Maggie Pierce began to work at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, she told Richard that she was adopted and Ellis Grey was her birth mom, leaving Richard to suspect that he is her biological father.
Adele asked him to retire, forcing him to choose between his career or their marriage. He tried to skirt around it, but Adele, tired of waiting, made her choice and left him. He moved out and was sleeping in his office for a short time, but later had a room at the same hotel as Callie. After learning of Ellis's illness, Richard had been visiting her regularly, but upon deciding to attempt a reconciliation with Adele realized that he could no longer continue his emotional affair with Ellis. He attempts to patch things up with his wife, but is stunned to find out that she has apparently moved on to someone else.
Adele was admitted to the hospital and was discovered, first by Addison and later by Richard, to be pregnant (at 52 years old). Though he believed the father to be the man Adele insinuated to be seeing months earlier, Richard stayed by Adele's side as she was treated, though complications later arose and she lost the baby. Adele later admitted to Richard that the baby, which was a boy, was actually his. After this tragedy, Richard and Adele decided to give their marriage another try.
Richard and Adele declared that his work was the reason that their marriage had failed. He started living on Derek's property in his own trailer and began to repair his life as a divorcé.
After months living apart, Richard decided to move back home. He admitted to Adele that he made a mistake 20 years ago but he's a good man, and he doesn't treat her as she deserves, putting his foot down. Adele commented "It's about time" and allowed Richard to return home.
Richard and Catherine maintained a flirtatious relationship throughout her first two visits to Seattle Grace Mercy West. He almost accompanied her to a medical ball, but he realized he needed to be with his wife in her time of need. By the time of the medical boards, Adele's condition had deteriorated to the point she did not recognize Richard anymore and had begun "dating" another man. This was when Catherine and Richard began their sexual relationship. When Adele died, Richard pushed away Catherine and her efforts at a relationship. They have since reconciled and see each other on an irregular basis, but are serious. Richard was planning on proposing to Catherine, but a huge argument about Cristina losing the Harper Avery Award changed his mind. After some time apart, Richard professed his feelings for Catherine and subsequently, they reconciled. Richard and Catherine later showed differing views on marriage just as he was about to propose to her again. Some time later, Catherine proposed to Richard in front of the whole hospital, to which he agreed.
Richard met Miranda as an intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. He discovered her talent when she correctly diagnosed a patient after 3 months of unnecessary surgeries.
When he was a drunk, she was the only one that managed to make him admit it and sign the papers to go into rehab instead of signing the papers for an early retirement.
Richard and Derek are good friends. They first met during Derek's residency when Richard was one of his teachers. When Richard separated from his wife, Derek allowed Richard to park his trailer on his land and live there.Ellis Grey, from the feelings he had for her. After an intervention by Derek Shepherd, they forgave each other.
After a gunman, by the name of Gary Clark entered the hospital and started shooting people, Meredith offered herself to him, stating that she was the closest thing to a daughter Richard had.
After the shooting, they maintained a good relationship until his accident during the super storm. In the aftermath of this accident, Meredith learned that she was Richard's healthcare proxy and that his life depended on her decisions. Meredith made the decision to have them operate and he woke up from his coma. After waking up, Richard told Meredith that he had only made her his medical proxy because he thought she had the guts to let him die. This revelation estranged them for a while, but subsequently Richard apologized and they both returned to a close relationship.
There are continuity errors regarding where exactly Richard built his career; at one point, he states that with the exception of his fellowship, he spent his entire career at Seattle Grace. However, it is also established that he both taught and befriended Addison and Derek, presumably in New York (the majority of references within the show, as well as additional sources, indicate that a good portion of Richard's career was spent in Manhattan, rather than Seattle).
A board member regards Richard as the best surgeon in the hospital, and is demonstrated on the occasion in the robotics lab where he takes the course as a "refresher", and he pits himself against Cristina Yang, losing in the first few tasks. In the last task, performing a minor operation, Richard manages to complete the surgery with his eyes closed, while Cristina struggles to get ahead. When asked how he managed to do so, he claims muscle memory - he is so used to these procedures knows how to perform the surgery with his eyes closed.
Richard had planned to retire and recommended Preston Burke as his successor, but after the secret of Burke's tremor and cover-up came out, that plan was put to a stand-still. Nevertheless, he has told the hospital board of his retirement and has yet to name his successor; Derek, Preston, Addison and Mark all eagerly clamoring for the post. Richard eventually chose Derek, but Derek tells him that Richard should remain chief.
In an attempt to move back home, Richard begins to delegate some of his work to other staff with responsibilities, such as the chief resident, at the time being Callie Torres, but as she was slightly unaware of what to do exactly, Miranda Bailey eventually replaces her, reducing Richard's burden. To assist with this further, he enlists George O'Malley to become the chief's intern to assist with some of his day to day duties, such as passing messages, phone calls, charting, pre-op and post-op patients amongst other things, until George finally had enough after learning he failed his intern exam by 1 point.
After the death of O'Malley and throughout the merger with Mercy West, Richard comes under a massive amount of stress. He makes a mistake on a patient that brings to the attention of Bailey that something is wrong. Eventually he takes Meredith under his tutelage where she finally figures out that he had started to drink again. Meredith eventually tells Derek and Derek brings it to the attention of the board who force Richard to resign as chief and his responsibilities as a doctor; Derek takes over his position as chief of surgery.
After a numerous number of days sober, Richard finally returns to being a general surgery attending under Shepherd. He is the doctor that was on the case of Gary Clark's wife and did her surgery. She did not recover however and died leaving Clark with a vendetta against him. Clark later returns and begins to shoot people, mainly surgeons, in the hospital. Webber was not present at the time but once he hears what is going on he finds a way into the hospital and confronts Clark, who ultimately commits suicide.
Derek resigns as chief surgeon, leaving Richard as interim chief until the board agree to let him come back full-time as the chief of surgery. After a day of recalling his old procedures with Ellis Grey, he began going through her journals again. When he found the trick he was looking for, Richard was encouraged to try to expand her findings on islet cell transplantation, which was stopped because of her Alzheimer's. He initiated a clinical trial to cure type 1 diabetes through a device that contain insulin-producing islet cells. He even tried to get Meredith to participate, which she ultimately turned down because she was dedicated to Derek's Alzheimer's trial.
Before he could get the approval or a waiver from the FDA, Richard tried the device and procedure on Clara Greene, who was in a hypoglycemic coma. Eventually, it was approved. Richard, with Jackson Avery as his assistant, began trying out the "artificial pancreas" on humans, as well as mice.
Richard took the fall for Meredith's tampering of a clinical trial for Alzheimer's which could help Adele. He resigned as Chief and helped Owen Hunt obtain the job as his successor. He has since been a senior general surgery attending. Richard passed the clinical trial onto Dr. Bailey.
After Owen quit, Richard was named interim chief of surgery until they could replace him.
Notes and TriviaEdit
- He is a recovering alcoholic.
- When he drinks, he drinks vodka.
- His favorite cake is red velvet with cream cheese icing.
- He claims to be strong at history and geography trivia.
- He and Adele married when she was 25.
- He proposed to Adele on New Year's and got married the Valentine's Day after.
- In 2004, Webber won a plaque for "best doctors in America".
- He also has a diploma from Northwestern University.
- His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- He taught a painful lesson to Addison about getting to close to her patients by giving her a patient who would eventually die. This resulted in her avoiding him for almost a year. She eventually taught Izzie Stevens the same lesson.
- As Richard is a part-owner of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, he has a seat on the board as a member.
- During the first two episodes of season one, Richard has M.D., Ph.D, and F.A.C.S on his lab coat, however, subsequent episodes only shows M.D. and F.A.C.S. Additionally, his lab coat has three lines of embroidery versus the standard two with chief surgeon lab coats.
- He met Ellis Grey when Meredith was three.
- Richard is one of the "Grey Sloan Seven".
- Richard is the only original character of whom we haven't seen any of his parents.
- Meredith is Richard's healthcare proxy.
- Dr. Maggie Pierce is his biological daughter, he conceived her with Ellis Grey.
- He once claimed that he used to change Meredith's diapers.
- It is shown that Ellis Grey is the reason Richard started drinking, which lead to him becoming an alcoholic.
A more complete gallery with pictures of Richard Webber can be found here.
- Richard: See, I've lived. I mean I've really, really lived. I've failed. I-I've been devastated. I've been broken. I've gone to hell and back... and I've also known joy and passion and I've had a great love. See, death for me is not justice; it's the end of a beautiful journey, and I'm not afraid to die. The question is, are you? A life in prison, or an afterlife with your wife … me or you? Your choice.