Doomed Hurt Guy

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"I'm fine, really—Ow, my back!"
Bob is injured, or perhaps infected with The Plague. He and his companions are far from civilization. What are they to do? Simple, cold pragmatism dictates that there is no hope for Bob, and that his companions ought to go on without him. He may even insist they go on without him. But no! They must do the decent thing, the humane thing, and take Bob with them in the hope that they can get medical treatment for him.

But alas, Bob's days are numbered, and after all that effort, he winds up coming to a horrible end anyway. Because he's the Doomed Hurt Guy.

The Doomed Hurt Guy is a trope that mainly shows up in war, horror and adventure fiction. It more or less stipulates that a character (usually a minor one) is injured badly and the heroes can't do much for him. This presents them with a Sadistic Choice, wherein they must either choose to abandon him or bring him with them. Despite them trying to save the guy, the poor bastard eventually dies anyway. The reasons for this vary from example to example. Sometimes it's just for pure Anyone Can Die shock value - the audience may not be willing to believe that injured Bob (or whoever) will bite it. Other times, it's to elicit a strong emotional reaction - the death of an injured or sick character who the story has invested a lot of time in can really pull at those heart strings. Also, it can be used to show the futility of the characters' situation, the hopelessness they face, that after all that, the person they've tried so desperately to save ends up perishing anyway, proving that fate is entirely out of their hands.

To qualify for this trope, the character should be someone the heroes make some actual effort to save beforehand. Aversions are welcome.


Examples:

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    Film 
  • In the movie The Lost Continent, the ship's cook is injured by mutineers, receiving a nasty head wound. He's tended to by his shipmates and a sheleter is built for him in the lifeboat after the passengers and crew are forced to abandon the ship in a violent storm. When they become briefly trapped in a vast expanse of flesh-eating seaweed, the cook suffers some kind of fever-induced freakout, stands up in the boat, and promptly falls overboard and is dragged down and devoured.
  • George the cop in the movie Daylight. A sinkhole opens beneath his feet and a truck falls on him, paralyzing him. Despite a big setpiece wherein everyone joins together to rescue him, it turns out they must leave him behind. The last we see him, he's lying on a stretcher on the roof of a car as the tunnel fills with water.
  • The helicopter pilot (named Huntoon in the Novelization) in the mutant bear movie Prophecy. He gets injured during said bear's attack on the Indian village, and so the good guys have to carry him through the forest, eventually strapping him to the top of a truck they find. When the bear attacks again and overturns the truck, John Hawks makes a rather halfhearted effort to free him from the stretcher, then runs as the bear comes along and gobbles up the poor pilot's head.
  • Fred Clarkson in both 1943 and 1995 versions of Sahara. Injured in von Schletow's attempt to strafe the tank, he lasts long enough to get to Bir-Acroma and then bites it.
  • German tourist Matthias in The Ruins. Possibly one of the nastiest and cruelest examples. There's an extended sequence of his friends crudely amputating his legs and burning the stumps to cauterize them, but a few scenes later, he gets strangled by the killer vines while the other campers are arguing and not paying attention to him.
  • Purvis in Alien: Resurrection although he at least gets a really badass (if somewhat out of left field) Heroic Sacrifice to kill the main human villain, Dr. Wren.
  • As noted below, this is averted in The Guns of Navarone wherein The Load Major Roy Franklin survives. This is partially because the heroes deliberately leave him behind so he'll be interrogated under drugs and cause the German's to send off their forces on a wild goose chase.
  • Another notable aversion is in Creature from the Black Lagoon with Dr. Thompson.
  • Karen in Night of the Living Dead is possibly the world's first Zombie Infectee version of this trope.
  • The poor elderly hermit in The Blob, although he's an example where, debatably, it's needed for the plot to progress (although subsequent Blob Monster stories and films managed to do without it).
  • Linda in Proteus. Injured by Charlie's claws, she's put in the rig's infirmary where she gets taken over (a la The Thing) by a tendril that oozes down from a vent above her head. Similar to Matthias in The Ruins, the other characters are busy talking about something unrelated to Linda, and by the time they notice the frantically beeping heart rate monitor signalling her demise, she's already been completely taken over.
  • Pancho in Predator, although the time from his injury to his death is unusually short for this trope.
  • Speaking of short time-from-injury-to-death ratios, there's Udesky in Jurassic Park III. Injured by raptors and left out as bait for the other characters in a tree, when they realize it's a trap (mostly due to the raptors jumping the gun and attacking before anyone is even completely down) and don't come down, the raptors finish Udesky off and depart.
  • The pilot in The Giant Claw who bashes his head against the control panel. Mitch drags him from the wreckage after making an emergency crash-landing, but the poor guy dies anyway.
  • Jake in Evil Dead 2. All that effort to (very painfully) drag him through the house after accidentally stabbing him, and he winds up being lain down right next to the trapdoor leading into the basement. Henrietta then gets 'im.
  • German officer "Heine" Schwaffer in The Enemy Below. Badly wounded when the American destroyer collides with the German submarine, Captain von Stolberg manages to get him safely to the top deck. Murrell assists him in rigging a rope to pull Heine over to the American ship so they can be rescued, but poor Heine ends up dying from his injuries later anyway. Notably, Murrell tells von Stolberg that Heine is probably fatally wounded, but the German sub captain refuses to abandon his subordinate (and lifelong friend).
  • George Ritchie in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Upon encountering the titular dinosaur, he falls into a crevice and severely injures himself. His colleague Tom Nesbitt eats up quite a bit of screentime in an heroic attempt to rescue him. But, alas, the Beast returns, and as soon as Tom lays eyes on it, it causes an avalanche that critically wounds him and also kills George. As in The Blob, this is an instance of the trope being required to further the plot: George had to die so that Tom would be the only person aware of the dinosaur.

    Literature 
  • Andy Stevens in The Guns of Navarone is hurt during the climb up the cliff. He later sacrifices himself to hold off the pursuing German soldiers so his comrades can get away. This is averted in the film, wherein Roy Franklin (as Stevens is so christened) manages to actually get medical treatment - from the Germans! - and survives.
  • Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park. Although The Lost World (1995) reveals he survived and all that talk about a burial in the first book was premature.
  • A rare example of a non-physical sort of injury, there's Otto Grunstadt in The Keep. He survives the Germans' initial encounter with Rasolam, but is left insane. Captain Woermann makes plans to send him away from the keep for mental treatment, but Rasolam comes for him the next night.
  • State Trooper Carl Martinelli to some extent in Return of the Living Dead. He is shot by arch-criminal John Carter, hoping he'll die and turn into a zombie so he'll eat his tied up partner, Dave Benton. Racing against time, Dave manages to get himself untied and tend to Carl's wound, but he begins slowly dying from it anyway. Poor Carl survives long enough to get blown away by Henry Dorsey's triggerhappy son the following morning after mistaking him for a zombie, pretty much making all of Dave's effort to save him meaningless.
  • This also happens to someone in The Stand who develops appendicitis. The main characters drag him with them screaming in agony before finally attempting to (clumsily) operate on him, whereupon he dies during their sad joke of a surgery. Stephen King uses this trope to great effect, to show how helpless the survivors of The Plague are without modern medicine, doctors and knowledgeable in medical procedures.

    Live-Action Television 
  • The X-Files:
    • Deputy Greer in the episode "Agua Mala", although that was mainly due to interference from Dougie the looter.
    • Gary Sacks in the episode "Alone". Despite being the person Doggett is searching for, the poor guy ends up getting dissolved and slurped up offscreen.
  • Combat! did this a few times, with both Allied and enemy personnel on the receiving end:
    • In "I Swear by Apollo," two people are badly injured by a German grenade. One of them is a member of La Résistance with important intel, and the other is American G.I. Wayne Temple (who'd previously appeared in "Rear Echelon Commandos"). To save them, the squad goes and captures German medical officer Captain Belzer. But Belzer is only able to save the Frenchman, as poor doomed Temple dies from his injuries.
    • In "Masquerade," German infiltrators posing as "Corporal Kanger" and "Lieutenant Comstock" get behind enemy lines disguised as American G.I.s with a "captured" German colonel. However, they overturn their Jeep. They're fine, but the colonel is badly hurt. The Americans, being good guys, try and help him, and he makes it to almost the end of the episode, but dies shortly after it's revealed the guys who "captured" him are Nazi spies. The poor guy goes through so much throughout the episode that when he finally bites it from his injuries, even Saunders feels bad for the guy despite the fact he's a Nazi.
    • Intelligence officer Captain Thorpe in "The Mockingbird." German infiltrator Asher shoots him in the back during a firefight, but he survives, long enough for the squad to get him to an abbey for medical treatment, but despite the best efforts of Doc and the monks, Thorpe lapses into complete delirium. At one point Asher tries to smother him with a pillow, but is stopped by Caje. Despite this last-second reprieve, Thorpe ends up dying anyway.
    • In "Retribution," badly wounded French civilian Andre is the only witness to SS officer Colonel Bruener's torture and murder of Kirby's friend Eddie Kopicek. Doc treats him as best as he can, before they bring him to his house so his wife Micheline can get the local doctor. Alas, when they return later with the captured Bruener, Andre has shuffled off his mortal coil in their absence.
    • In "More Than a Soldier," Saunders, New Meat Carey and a nameless German sergeant become trapped in a collapsed mine. The German ends up buried under some rubble and badly hurt. Carey wants to abandon him, but Saunders insists it would be tantamount to murder, so the two risk their lives by digging him free. He ends up dying from his injuries anyway.
    • In "Headcount," the squad ends up with a buttload of German prisoners, among them the Schiller Brothers, Karl and Kurt. Kurt is injured, suffering from some kind of unspecified injury. However, there's nothing Doc can do for him in the field, so all they can do is try to make it back to their lines. But Kurt dies on the way, much to his brother's anger.

    Video Games 
  • The Resident Evil series:
    • Richard Aiken in the first game. When he's found dying from the venomous Yawn's bite, the player is sent to get anti-venom for him, but he ends up croaking anyway. Making it so that the player can do nothing but fail underlies the futility of S.T.A.R.S.' situation. In the remake, Richard is cured with the medicine, but still winds up perishing in an apparent subversion of the trope, the idea apparently being that even though you can save someone from one thing, they can still perish from another.
    • Marvin Branagh in Resident Evil 2. He turns into a zombie.
    • Mikhail Victor in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, although he gets up and fights before finally biting it.
    • Bob in Resident Evil Outbreak. Assuming the player bothers with helping him along, he dies anyway, either by committing suicide or turning into a zombie and being killed by his friends.
  • Tom in Dino Crisis. The player can avert this with Gail after he's seriously injured by a falling computer tower by knocking him out and dragging him to safety before he can continue on the mission and get himself killed.
  • Luke from Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Survives a stray bullet to the leg in a shootout with some bandits, but the injury dramatically reduces his strength and mobility, and he consequently drowns after falling through A Crack in the Ice.


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