There was so much happening in the Grey's Anatomy 2021 winter finale that Cormac Hayes' (Richard Flood) storyline, as intense as it was, somehow got lost in the rest of the madness. With the 2022 spring premiere, we find Cormac faced with a moral quandary, and certainly a decision that would affect his family and his job. By the episode's end, Cormac makes a life-changing choice. Will it take him away from Grey Sloan Memorial? Is Cormac Hayes leaving Grey's Anatomy?
Is Cormac Hayes leaving 'Grey's Anatomy'?
Cormac Hayes is unfortunately leaving Grey's Anatomy, but he didn't come to this conclusion easily. In the winter finale, Cormac, Teddy (Kim Raver), and Owen (Kevin McKidd) got into a horrible car accident while bringing a donor heart back to Megan Hunt's (Abigail Spencer) son, Farouk (Bardia Seiri). Their vehicle ended up on the edge of a cliff! Teddy crawled out, heart in hand, but Cormac and Owen were trapped. Owen insisted that Cormac get out, but not before revealing a troubling secret.
Outside of the hospital, Owen has been working with a terminally ill soldier named Noah (Johnny Rey Diaz). He told Cormac, "I gave Noah Young the drugs he needed to die, I promised him that I'd give the same drugs to three other dying soldiers." Owen then made Cormac promise he would help those soldiers take their own lives.
Fortunately, Teddy made it back to the hospital with the heart, which was bruised but still usable. Owen was saved, but his injuries ended up being extensive. Before Cormac was able to see Owen, he had a conversation with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) while she was assessing his injuries. He asked for her opinion on mercy killings. Meredith said her first response is always "do no harm."
Once he got out of surgery, Cormac visited Owen to address what was said in the car. Owen immediately asked Cormac to forget what he told him, explaining that Noah had qualified for a physician's assisted death, but that the other three soldiers did not live in states that legally allow Death with Dignity. Yes, Owen made them a promise, but he also broke the law and asked Cormac to do the same. Regardless of why Owen did it, Cormac insisted Owen "tell the truth so I don't have to."
Did Cormac report what Owen did?
Before leaving for the day, Cormac stops by for a chat with Chief of Surgery Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), presumably to share with her what Owen did and what he asked of Cormac.
But before he can say anything, Miranda opens up about the Hunt family, and who Owen is as a person. She speaks of the family's service, revealing that their mother was an army nurse.
"Owen Hunt is one of the best men I know," she tells Cormac. While she's lavishing praise upon Owen, Cormac's face changes. It's clear that he has changed his mind. Interrupting Miranda, Cormac says, "Dr. Bailey, I have to give you my notice." Apologizing to her, he says his children aren't doing well in Seattle, and that returning to Ireland would be best for the family.
Ultimately, Cormac knows that while what Owen was doing was illegal, it was the right thing to do. And for him, the right thing to do is leave.