Grey's Anatomy writer faked having cancer for years because she 'needed attention'
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Former Grey’s Anatomy writer and producer Elisabeth Finch has admitted she faked illnesses because she ‘needed attention’, saying what she did was ‘f**ked up’.
Her ruse, which stretched back nearly 10 years, included everything from a cancer diagnosis through to abortion.
In 2012, she told colleagues that she had been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma, later saying she lost a kidney due to chemotherapy, and then that part of her tibia had to be removed.
Finch, 44, would even arrive at work wearing a dummy catheter taped to her arm, also shaving her hair to make it look like she was undergoing chemotherapy.
She claimed she had been forced to abort a fetus as chemotherapy made the pregnancy impossible, before saying her brother had died by suicide – despite still being very much alive and well.
It was eventually her own wife that started to unravel the complex web of lies, reaching out to Shondaland, Disney and even showrunner Shonda Rhimes to tell them that none of it was true.
Now Finch has spoken out about what she did, saying she drew on the ‘attention’ she had enjoyed from an actual injury 15 years ago.
In a new interview with The Ankler, the outlet that originally broke the story, Finch said: “What I did was wrong. Not okay. F**ked up. All the words.”
She explained how it all stemmed from a 2007 hiking injury, which required multiple surgeries that ended in a knee replacement.
“What ended up happening is that everyone was so amazing and so wonderful leading up to all the surgeries,” Finch recalled.
“They were so supportive. And then I got my knee replacement. It was one hell of a recovery period and then it was dead quiet because everyone naturally was like ‘Yay! You’re healed.'
“But it was dead quiet. And I had no support and went back to my old maladaptive coping mechanism - I lied and made something up because I needed support and attention and that’s the way I went after it. That’s where that lie started - in that silence.”
Finch said her actions weren’t only an unhealthy craving for attention, claiming there was a second, even more sinister, source of her trauma.
She alleged that her older brother physically and emotionally abused her for most of her childhood, adding: “It wasn't just casual sibling rivalry stuff.
“There were two things going on: one, my brother was abusing me, and two, my parents weren't listening. A lot of scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists will tell you that the negation of [abuse], or not hearing it, can sometimes be an even bigger trauma than the original trauma itself.”
The Ankler said that ‘multiple emails’ to Finch’s parents and brother seeking comment were not returned.