You know, where a character gets stabbed or shot - usually in the kidney - and it should be fatal. Only it isn't, because they donated that kidney. Or they have dextrocardia. Or that limb was actually prosthetic. Usually given as justification for Its Only A Flesh Wound
, but sometimes the central conceit around which a climax - or entire plot - is built. Usually used as an ironic counterpoint to the original injury. This is all but guaranteed to happen to people cheated out of organs earlier in the plot, because it's a good way of suggesting ambiguity - after all, if you still had that kidney I tricked you into donating, you'd be dead now.
If a character is shown to have donated an organ and the genre isn't Medical Drama
, they're extremely likely to suffer injury to that area later in the work. Anyone with dextrocardia - where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left - is virtually guaranteed to be shot or stabbed where the heart "should be" at some point.
The inverse (Reverse Organ Dodge?), where a character who's learned to cope with a handicap or life-altering injury is injured in a way making the handicap worse
, is fairly common in Darker and Edgier
works. This is where, for example, a character who's just undergone extensive cosmetic surgery to repair fire scarring gets caught in another disfiguring fire
. Sometimes applies to wheelchairs, canes, and other forms of assistive technology as well, where the short-term consequences can be dire without automatically leading to Nightmare Fuel
. A popular version in the Police Procedural
is to have a gunshot victim with dextrocardia who would have survived if they didn't have the condition, usually played for some combination of tragedy and irony.
- John Locke from LOST
- a major running theme in Ninja Assassin
- A running gag in an episode of Arrested Development
- The glass eye in Water World
- Happens occasionally with Professor X's wheelchair/hoverchair in X-Men
- At least two episodes of CSI