After Addison cheated on him with Mark, Derek left his private practice in New York and accepted Richard Webber's offer to come work for him at Seattle Grace Hospital with the possibility of becoming the Chief once Webber retired.
Derek became aware that Burke was in the running too, after he was hired.
Derek coped with the traumatic experience by speeding. Andrew Perkins that the shooting gave him the courage to step down and quit.
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His sudden move to Seattle made him a curiosity to the other doctors as he gave up a well-established and respected practice in New York.
While Richard was getting treatment for his alcoholism, Derek became Chief of Surgery.
He took Lexie under his wing and they worked on those cases together.
After having to smash his left hand with a rock to free it from plane wreckage, Derek's hand was severely injured.
As a result he is especially cynical when treating criminals and feels that they do not deserve any compassion from him.
This event forms a large part of Derek's moral compass and consequently may have inspired him to become a surgeon to help save lives.
As a child, Derek had no hair products, so he had a large afro, acne, a weight of 110 pounds, and played the saxophone in the school band.
Derek spent most of his life prior to his arrival in Seattle in New York City.
Derek used to ride a motorcycle, but after an accident that gave him a scar, he stopped doing so.
Derek's childhood best friend was Mark Sloan, who came from a wealthier but emotionally deficient background, and was like a second son to the Shepherd family.
Many bones were broken and there was significant nerve damage.