Heal it with Booze YKTTW Discussion

Heal it with Booze
When alcohol intended for consumption is used in the treatment of a wound or as an antiseptic.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-12-08 19:52:48 sponsor: Columbina edited by: MacronNotes (last reply: 2013-05-26 23:03:55)

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You ever notice how in fiction no one ever has peroxide but everyone always has vodka? This trope occurs when a character pours liquor on a wound to disinfect it, or drinks alcohol as an antiseptic. Note that in the later case this trope would only occur when the character is using alcohol specifically as an antiseptic right before having a wound stitched up or a bullet extracted ect, and not when a character is just generally self medicating with alcohol.

Not to be confused with Booze-Based Buff, where the alcohol grants abilities and is basically a power up. If the alcohol instantly remedies a characters ailments, it's not an example of this trope.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
  • Subverted in an episode of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, where the ship's doctor considers using his personal stash when crew injuries are piling up. He considers it, takes a swig, then decides it'd be a waste.
  • Shaman King: Horohoro uses sake as a disinfectant after tangling with a bear in Colorado.

[[folder: Film - Animated]]
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda uses a bottle of wine on Phoebus' wounds.
    Phoebus: Great, I could use a drink. [cries in pain as she pours in on wound] AA Ah! Yes! Hmmm. Feels like a 1470 Burgundy. Not a good year.

  • It happens in Braveheart (1995): Mel Gibson's childhood pal Hamish and his father Campbell have just helped Mel defeat the local English lord, but Campbell sustained a wound in the process. He's blind drunk on whisky awaiting his son and friends helping him to "Heal It With Fire". After a comedy moment where first one, and then a second clansmen say "Here, you do it, [cauterise the wound with the poker], I'll hold him down!", Campbell asks Hamish to pour some on the wound first: "Pour it straight in the wound, boy. I know it seems like a waste of good whiskey, but indulge me."
  • In the beginning of Cowboys and Aliens, Meacham the preacher pours whiskey over Lonergan's wound before stitching it up.
  • In Death Proof, toward the end Stuntman Mike sterilises a wound with some liquor.
  • In The Final Sacrifice, Rowsdower pours a drink on a branded mark.
  • Done in the beginning of John Carpenter's The Thing. The Norwegian shoots a character in the leg and they're given a flask of booze that they take a swig from before pouring it over the wound.

[[folder: Literature]]
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel Death Or Glory he has a tracker who's helping guide their convoy to safety give his stash of whisky to the vet they've got working as a doctor (both because he's probably running out of antiseptic and because he wants to keep their tracker sober).
  • In West of Honor, the main character gets a minor wound, but due to an alien fungus has to get sent back to base to receive weeks of treatment. He later meets with a Private who was also wounded in the same battle, but got out earlier. It turns out the soldier used Brandy to disinfect the wound.
  • Variation in the Destroyermen novels. The Lemurians use the paste left over from fermenting polta fruit to make seep as an antiseptic and topical anesthetic.
  • In the first book of David Eddings' The Elenium, Sparhawk does first aid on one of his companions by scrubbing the wound out with some cheap wine before bandaging it. When he gets back to base, Sephrenia, the team's medic/sorceress, is less than impressed.
  • Everworld: April tries to treat Galahad's wounds and start a blood transfusion with limited 20th-century knowledge. She orders someone to get wine instead of water, as the water being germ-free is dubious at best.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are some instances of rudimentary surgery/medical care performed wherein a wound is sterilized with heated or boiled wine. Justified, since it is a Medieval European Fantasy, so there are no other antiseptics around.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat Is Born, after his friend is injured, the protagonist treats him with moonshine in some widow's home.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
  • In an episode of Burn Notice, Michael gets trapped in a bank robbery with Special Agent Bly. Bly goes cowboy and gets winged in the arm for his trouble, and Michael starts pretending to be a doctor. While treating Bly, he pours vodka over the wound both to disinfect and to punish him for being a jerk.
  • In one episode of the Russian TV series Dalnoboischiki ("Truckers") a provincial doctor complains that he has to use vodka as both disinfectant and anesthetic, since he has no real medical drugs.
  • In The Dukes of Hazzard the two protagonists are on probation for running moonshine for their uncle. He no longer does the bootlegging, but he's stated to still distill a little, "for medicinal purposes."
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spectre of the Gun". Morgan Earp punches Captain Kirk in the face and injures his lip. McCoy treats Kirk by touching his lip with a cloth and Kirk flinches.
    McCoy: What's the matter?
    Kirk: What do you call that stuff? Fire?
    McCoy: Taos Lightning straight bourbon.
  • In Serenity, after being shot through the leg by a Reaver harpoon, Jayne busies himself by pouring his flask over his leg wound... and then taking a swig.
  • Sam & Dean Winchester from Supernatural have used this method for years. Demonstrated one time when they were Trapped in TV Land on "Dr. Sexy, MD" - Doctor Dean got shot and Doctor Sam had to operate.
    "I need a pen knife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey. Stat!"
  • Disney's The Swamp Fox series has one of these in the episode 'Tory Vengeance'. Francis Marion gives some to his nephew as an anesthetic after the boy is shot-sadly, he can't do anything for the wound. Justifed, though, as it was the 1700s, and medical care as we know it didn't exist.

[[folder:New Media]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In one Celebrity Deathmatch, Sylvester Stallone cauterised a wound by pouring alcohol on it and then lighting it on fire, causing the judges to reverse their opinions about him not being a badass.

[[folder:Real Life]] [[/folder]]
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