Teddy has a patient, Kim, with terminal cancer who wants to end her own life, which is now legal in Washington state. She needs another surgeon to sign off and asks Owen. She's shocked when he disapproves and even more so when he goes to Derek to object. "What the hell is your problem?" she demands. "This patient is exercising her legal right to die." She goes to Mark instead, who gives her the necessary second signature.
Owen doesn't explain why this case bothers him so much: He remembers his time in Iraq and how he and his men's jeep were hit by an explosive device that killed everyone but him and his superior officer, Dan. But Dan is badly injured and begging for Owen to let him die, as no one is coming and the pain is more than he can bear. Owen finally gives in and lets Dan bleed out—just as a helicopter arrives. Owen confronts Kim about why she won't wait for a possible cure and we're wiping away tears as she tells him, "Maybe you have to be dying to understand, but there's a point when death stops being scary. It's hope that's scary."