[[JustForFun/TelevisionIsTryingToKillUs No, you don't.]]

Having a bullet dug out of a character's flesh or bone is almost as dramatic as the shooting itself. Even better, it requires only simple tools, little expertise, and is intensely painful (thus allowing the bullet recipient to demonstrate his or her heroic pain tolerance). It is easy to see why any series which involves gun play eventually includes a sequence in which a professional or amateur field medic applies a little bullet withdrawal to his or her comrade-in-arms.

Unfortunately, this is most often a [[WorstAid seriously bad idea]], as the very last thing you would want to do to help a shooting victim would be to pull the bullet out. Bullets are, once they stop moving, largely harmless, and trauma surgeons frequently leave them in place whilst repairing the damage inflicted by their ingress. Removing a bullet may harm the patient in several ways, but chiefly in that the bullet may be pressed against a damaged blood vessel, and removing it may cause severe bleeding.

Depending on the time period, however, this can be a JustifiedTrope - historically, a musket ball was made out of lead and would be toxic if left inside. It would also have been extracted as part of recovering any part of the wearer's clothing that it had tracked in with it - bits of cloth in wounds were a good source of infection, since most soldiers (and civilians, for that matter) had just one set of clothes which they wore constantly without washing them,[[note]] A) because you'd wash your under-pants and under-shirt, if you had any, instead of the external clothes and B) because most dyes would dissolve in water and/or soap, which was bad news if you wanted to look good/were relying on the colour of your clothes to help other soldiers identify which country you were fighting for[[/note]] and because musket balls travel far slower and have less penetrating power, bits of clothing could often be dragged into the wound. Plus, [[CaptainObvious people often instinctively want to get rid of foreign metal objects causing pain.]] Similarly, today, bullets still usually contain lead, and studies released in the mid-2010s show that over the long term, bullets left in people's bodies do cause long-term lead poisoning. Consequently, the new medical advice is to remove bullets if doing so does not create much additional risk.

In more futuristic scenarios, the bullet might be laced with harmful substances, made of radioactive material, set to detonate inside the target, or be such an AbnormalAmmo to be more threatening than the blood loss from subsequent removal.

See also AnnoyingArrows when this trope is applied to other types of projectiles. Contrast HealItWithFire.



* ''Manga/GunslingerGirl''. Triela has to remove the bullet from her handler Hilshire after he's wounded carrying out an assassination mission. With a pocket knife, in a hotel room, without anesthetic.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''
** A GoldenAge story had Robin getting a bullet out of Batman's shoulder.
** In an earlier issue, this was subverted when Batman, as Bruce Wayne, just went to a doctor to get a bullet out. When the doc asked him how he could have shot himself when there were no powder marks, Bruce just handwaved it by saying he did funny things sometimes.
* Common enough in Franchise/{{Superman}} comics and related media, since the kind of bullets that can hurt him are usually Kryptonite, meaning that a) leaving the bullet in is extremely painful and eventually fatal and b) as soon as the bullet is out, his HealingFactor is sure to kick in.
** One time Superman was shot with such a bullet, the surgeon initially had a hard time making the necessary incision for the extraction. However, he had the bright idea of using fragments of the ''bullet'' itself to weaken Supes' skin just enough to allow cutting for the complete extraction.
* Averted with an arrowhead in ''Franchise/{{Elfquest}}''. Cutter is shot by some humans, and (the tribe lacking a magical healer at the time) taken to the trolls for medical care. The troll elder who treats him warns that the arrowhead is caught under a rib, and that it will probably kill him to dig it out; she also assures him that "My eldest got on fine forever with a bear tooth stuck in his butt." The arrowhead stays where it is for hundreds of years (causing some chronic pain) until the tribe has a magical healer again.
* Played straight in ''ComicBook/CleanRoom'' when a high-ranking member of the Mueller organization is shot. Surgeons operate immediately but claim that some bullet fragments remain and will work their way into her heart within minutes.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* [[http://archiveofourown.org/series/82162 Stars from Home]] - discussed when [[spoiler: Alex]] is shot. Ruth tells Erik to take the bullet out, with Hank insisting they do otherwise. Justified when Ruth is able to heal [[spoiler: Alex]] using her powers.
* ''FanFic/TheManWithNoName''; The Doctor gets shot by a mook and has Simon dig the bullet out of his shoulder. This is justified as Time Lord biology reacts much more severely to foreign objects inside the body, so leaving it in would be more dangerous than taking it out.


[[folder:Film - Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueDoom'', Superman is shot with a kryptonite bullet which created an interesting problem: It must be removed because it's killing him on the inside, but he's still as tough on the outside, making traditional surgical tools ineffective.

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/MasterAndCommander: The Far Side of the World'', [[BadassBookworm Stephen Maturin]] operates ''on himself'' to extract a ball round. Subverted, in that Stephen is far more concerned about a piece of his shirt that the ball took with it and which he fears will infect the wound. We even get to see his assistant match the extracted shred to the hole in the shirt to make sure there are no bits left in the wound.
* Averted in an unusual fashion in ''Film/IronMan''. Tony Stark ends up with his heart damaged by shrapnel, and instead of having the fragments removed, which would endanger his life, he gets an electromagnetic thingamajig implanted to keep the bits from killing him. However, in ''Film/IronMan3'', it's stated Tony probably ''should'' have it removed, he's just afraid of having the surgery, even if the long term consequences are worse. [[spoiler:He finally goes and does it at the end of the film.]]
* In Creator/BillCosby's opus ''Film/LeonardPart6'', we're treated to an even more heroically pain-resistant hero: Leonard, having been shot, removes the bullets himself, his trusty manservant only standing by with surgical tools and a mirror. The bullet is then placed in a large and almost full jar of other bullets that have been extracted from him over the course of his spy career.
* Subverted in ''Film/TheGreenHornet'': Britt is shot in the shoulder as Green Hornet, but obviously can't go to the hospital lest he give away his SecretIdentity. So he tells [[spoiler:Lenore]] to dig the bullet out with a kitchen knife (while he bites down on a spatula), but even the heat from the sterilized knife causes him to wuss out. [[spoiler:They end up having Kato (in costume) drive up and "shoot" Britt at a public event, which lets him safely go to the hospital ''and'' makes it less likely that people will think he's the Hornet. However, this means that Reid has to spend a day or so with a bullet in his shoulder and not let anyone know about it. Yikes.]]
* At the beginning of ''Film/TheBourneIdentity'' the fishing boat's medic digs two bullets out of the unconscious Jason Bourne's back.
* Inverted in ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', where leaving the bullet in results in superpowers. TheDragon, Renard, was [[TisOnlyABulletInTheBrain shot in the head]] by [=MI6=], the bullet didn't kill him, but it is slowly drifting towards his medulla oblongata which will eventually kill him. Unfortunately for Bond, this somehow causes him to [[YouFailBiologyForever feel no pain and become stronger]].
* In ''Film/DeadMenDontWearPlaid'', the female lead ''sucks'' out a bullet the male lead had taken earlier. Not only would this be likely to cause both tissue damage and risk infection from all the saliva, but she would get blood all over herself in the process. Fortunately the movie's realism tends to not be very consistent.
** It's actually down to RuleOfFunny, spoofing the SuckOutThePoison trope.
* Justified in the ''Film/{{Runaway}}'' where the BigBad is armed with a HandCannon firing heat-seeking microshells. One of them ends up in a cop's arm but fails to explode, and the protagonist has to remove it for fear it will detonate before they get her to the hospital.
* Creator/RobertDeNiro has a bullet removed from his body in ''Film/{{Ronin}}'' while simultaneously instructing his buddies step-by-step on how to do the procedure. After the excruciating surgery, De Niro's character says "I think I'll pass out now" and does.
* In the ''Film/{{Bean}}'' movie, as usual for Mr. Bean, after a series of misunderstandings, he ends up in an emergency room in a doctor's outfit, at which point the other doctors and nurses expect him to retrieve a bullet from the police chief's body. As soon as he does (before and after some {{Squick}}), amazingly, the chief's flat lining vital signs ''immediately'' stabilize, at which point he regains consciousness, and is apparently going to be just fine afterward. Cue applause from doctors.
* After the first shootout of ''Film/TheKiller'', Ah Jong has some bullets taken out of him by Fung Sei at the church. It is ''painful as hell''.
* Carolina digs a bullet out of the Mariachi's arm following the Tarasco Bar shootout from ''Film/{{Desperado}}''.
* Averted in ''Film/{{Speed}}'': early on Harry gets shot by the villain, and later mentions that the bullet is still inside him.
* Possibly averted in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''. After Charles is accidentally hit in the spine by a bullet deflected by Erik, Erik pulls the bullet out using his powers. It's entirely possible (even likely) that the act of pulling the bullet out is what makes Charles a paraplegic in the original trilogy.
* In ''Film/TheyMadeMeAFugitive'', Clem gets shot by a farmer and is left with a painful collection of buckshot across his shoulder. When he finds Sally, she takes out the pieces even if she's constantly getting faint from the sight of blood.
* {{Parodied}} in ''Film/TalladegaNightsTheBalladOfRickyBobby'' when the titular character stabs himself in the leg to prove that he's a paraplegic (even though he's really not; he only ''thinks'' he is)--and raises holy hell when it actually hurts. His idiot buddies then try to dig the knife out--[[EpicFail with another knife]].
* In ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'' this trope at first appears to be PlayedStraight when Trinity is shot. Neo notes that "[[CaptainObvious The bullet is still inside]]" and uses his [[RealityWarper One powers]] to reach into her body and pull it out. It quickly becomes a subversion when this does nothing to improve her condition whatsoever [[spoiler:and she dies. Neo then has to use his powers to restart her heart.]]
* In ''Film/ToHaveAndHaveNot'', a LivingMacGuffin gets shot in the should and the hero is called in to get the bullet out which he does.
* Film/MajorPayne presents his LoveInterest Emily Walburn with a gift that comes from his heart--a bullet that he dug out of his left ventricle.
* In the ''Film/{{Underworld}}'' series, Lycans have to dig out silver bullets and other silver weapons before they get fatally poisoned. They have a HealingFactor, and powerful Lycans can push the bullets out just by tensing their muscles. Also, in ''Film/UnderworldBloodWars'', David gets shot with a bullet tipped with a [[ThisIsADrill spinning drill]], so Selene has to pull it out because it is traveling through and damaging his body faster than his HealingFactor can fix.
* Subverted in Micmacs a Tire-Larigot. During a gunfight, a bullet ricochets off the pavement and hits the protagonist in the head but does not kill him. At the hospital, the doctors decide it would be too dangerous to take it out, but the ammunition in it is still live and could go off at any time if he gets too upset. (It's a JeanPierreJeunet movie. Don't think about it too hard.)
* Justified in ''Film/MaxManus''. The title character is shot when a pistol accidentally discharges in LaResistance safehouse. At first Max thinks he's dying from all the blood, but it turns out the injuries are superficial because the bullet fragmented. However the doctor informs him that he's not able to find all the fragments, which could cause infection if left in place. Max has to be evacuated to neutral Sweden so he can go to a hospital, [[spoiler:and while he's away his best friend Greger is caught in an ambush and killed.]]
* In ''Film/BringMeTheHeadOfTheMachineGunWoman'', Santiago captures the Machine Gun Woman after she is shot by one of the hitmen after the bounty on her head. She insists that that the bullet needs to come out and talks Santiago through the procedure for removing it. Made more difficult because it is done in the front seat of her jeep, using equipment she has in the car, and she is tied up because Santiago won't untie her in case she escapes.

* In ''The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax'' by Creator/DorothyGilman, Literature/MrsPollifax (a [[LittleOldLadyInvestigates little old lady spy]]) and a fellow agent called Farrell are captured by the enemy. Farrell is shot in the shoulder during an attempt to throw himself off a cliff to avoid questioning, and as his condition worsens, much is made of how the bullet must be removed before it kills him. As soon as this is done (not by a doctor, in the rather unsanitary environment of a prison cell), Farrell's health begins to improve.
* Subverted in a story told to the Orkney children in ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', in which a king has a bullet-like projectile hit him at the base of his skull while fighting in the war. It had to stay in there, because no doctor could remove it without killing him. Unfortunately, he wasn't left much better off, seeing as any serious rise in blood pressure could still kill him from the wound. He ends up dying when he hears that Jesus Christ had been crucified and he took his sword and ran from his home in fury to save his Savior, the anger causing his heart rate to spike enough to kill him.
* Justified in the second book of the ''[[Literature/ApprenticeAdept Apprentice Adept]]'' series: Red has [[spoiler: shot Stile with a bullet that, in Proton, is a tracer for a bomb robot, and in Phaze is a basilisk amulet that will activate the second it gets to Phaze.]]
* Justified in ''Literature/TheMartian''. Mark Watney has been punctured by a length of antenna which, along with congealed blood, has mostly sealed his spacesuit against decompression. However when he regains consciousness, Watney has to remove the antenna to apply an emergency patch that will properly seal the spacesuit so he can make it back to the Habitat. [[Film/TheMartian In the movie]] he cuts off most of the antenna, but leaves the remainder in place until he makes it back to the Hab, then yanks out the rod and fishes inside himself with forceps for a nut that's been left in there. However as the nearest medical attention is millions of miles away, and he's got to engage in a lot of physical activity over the next few years, it's not as if he has any other choice.
* Justified by the time period in UnderAPaintedSky, when Sam takes a bullet out of an outlaw's leg. The book is set in 1849.
* In ''Ramage'', the title character must find a doctor (in enemy-occupied Italy) to have a bullet removed from the beautiful Marchesa di Volterra, and trust the man not to give them away.

* Averted in ''Series/{{House}}'' when a police officer has fragments of a bullet lodged in his skull. The team desperately wants to do an MRI, and House shoots a corpse in the head to test if the metal bullet will interfere with an MRI. The bullet gets violently ripped out of the corpses skull and breaks the MRI.
** While most materials commonly used in munitions aren't ferromagnetic, Foreman specifically states that the particular bullet used ''was''. More often than not, the actual type of bullet used isn't known, so they'd be gambling with his life. Also, House tends to play it fast and loose with MRI-related physics. While shifting, the bullet wouldn't likely have ripped out of the skull, but would slowly burn during the scanning process.
* In the first-season ''Series/HarpersIsland'' episode "Gasp," a physician directs his friend (and romantic rival) to remove a bullet from his shoulder. "You have to get the bullet out" he (incorrectly) insists.
* Played with in ''Series/HeroesReborn'', with Farah Nazan, Carlos, Micah and Jose when [[spoiler: Farah is shot. Carlos, Jose, and Micah take her to the hospital, and try to help her. Jose manages to dig the bullets out of her stomach, except since he phases his hand into her chest, then phases the bullets out, it doesn't have the same medical implications as the other methods of bullet removal.]]
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}''
** Simon removes a bullet from Kaylee's stomach wound during the pilot, but as part of a much longer surgical procedure that isn't shown on-screen and (most likely) involved a lot more than just pulling the bullet out.
** Subverted in the final episode. Simon is shot in the leg, and doesn't have the bullet removed until the end of the episode, and with somewhat sophisticated imaging and removal tools to minimize damage.
** In "Safe" Zoe removes a bullet from Book's shoulder (Simon is too busy being kidnapped at the moment), but that isn't the end of it. Zoe is not a trained surgeon, so while she can remove the bullet and bandage and clean the wound, the damage inflicted by the bullet would still eventually kill Book unless he got professional medical help.
* In a season 2 episode of ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Sawyer digs a bullet out of his shoulder with his fingers. This one is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in that a) this ''causes'' him more problems than it solves, including a nasty infection, and b) Sawyer isn't a doctor.
** Dealt with a little better in two later episodes, where after the bullet is removed the hole is cleaned and stitched.
** Which is surprising as in the pilot episode Jack explains that he won't remove a piece of shrapnel from a wounded man's abdomen because he expected a rescue party to show up soon and have him in a sterile environment when they do. As they are not rescued immediately, he removes it and tries to keep the resulting infection at bay with the rather weak antibiotics he can scrounge up. It doesn't work.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** In "The I in Team," Spike is shot with a tracer, apparently deeply embedded, and it has to be removed quickly by the team. {{Justified|Trope}} because a tracer isn't a proper bullet and Spike is a vampire, without the same medical concerns as a human.
** In the episode "Villains," Willow magics out the bullet that hit Buffy, but it's OK because she witch-fus all of her wounds closed at the same time.
* The ''Series/BionicWoman'' remake justifies this: Jaime's nanomachine-based HealingFactor isn't programmed to handle the situation, and it's actually pushing the bullet deeper inside her.
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'':
** Averted with an attorney who was shot in the head. Her doctors had left the bullet in place for years due to its dangerous location near the basilar artery of her brain, but later needed to remove it because it had shifted position over time and was sure to become fatal soon. She tells Sara that she honestly doesn't expect to survive the operation. [[spoiler: She lives through the surgery, but the belatedly-extracted bullet provides new clues that exposes her as a murderer.]]
** Also averted in an episode guest starring Roger Daltrey. A mobster, long thought dead, decides to come back to take revenge on the thugs who tried to kill him after a mob doctor tells him that the bullet they put in him is pressing on an artery and will likely kill him within weeks, but cannot be removed without killing him due to its location. He explains this to Catherine while laying in a hospital bed after having a heart attack while in police custody... and then she shows him the bullet, saying that mob doctors become mob doctors "because they ''suck''".
* Averted variation on ''Series/{{CSINY}}'' in 'Officer Blue'. Mac needed a bullet that had lodged inside a horse when a mounted officer was shot to death. He knew it would likely kill the animal in the process. Mac did manage to stall the surgery long enough that the horse did survive.
* ''Series/TheListener'': ZigZagged in "Desperate Hours," in which Toby and Oz get kidnapped and forced to help a man who was shot. The kidnapper makes Toby perform surgery to remove the bullet, which he believes is the only way to save the man's life, despite the fact that Toby is a ''paramedic''. Toby gets them to call Olivia, an actual surgeon, who advises that the safest way to handle the bullet wound is just to stitch it up and leave the bullet in. Then Toby finds the bullet lodged against an artery; removing it could either be necessary to save him or make things fatally worse. They end up removing the bullet to find little damage in the artery, meaning he's in the clear. [[spoiler:He then goes into cardiac arrest and dies anyway.]]
* An episode of ''Series/NewAmsterdam'' has John help an old colleague who is dying of lead poisoning from a bullet that was never extracted.
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'': Bull Randleman has to have a Dutch farmer do this to him after he is wounded and stuck behind enemy lines. Technically not a bullet (it was shrapnel from an exploding British tank), but the concept remains the same.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** In the episode "Death's Door", Sam and Dean take the fact that the hospital staff was not rushing to remove the bullet as confirmation that said staff had given up hope of saving the victim [[spoiler:Bobby Singer. Also, the Reaper that comes for Bobby tells him that the bullet in his head is killing his brain.]]
** Played straight in "Born Under A Bad Sign" where Jo digs a bullet out of Dean's shoulder so he does not need to seek further medical attention.
** In an unusual variation, Castiel has to dig a bullet out of his stomach not because it's necessarily killing him, but because the bullet was cast out of an angel blade and it's the only weapon he has on hand to take out the angel guarding him [[EyeScream (by shoving it through the guy's eye)]]. It's implied he could bleed out over time, but he's likely more concerned with escape when he removes it.
* In ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' Herschel Greene insists they have to get the bullet out of Carl, who has been accidentally shot.
* Deconstructed in one ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' episode, when a couple stumbles across a man trying to get into their car having mistaken it for his own due to intoxication and the effects of a knife in his groin. When he collapses they promptly call 911 (good), pull the knife out (bad), and stick the knife back ''in'' to try plugging the wound when he starts bleeding out (worse).
* ''Series/BurnNotice'' does this ''all'' the time. Whenever someone is shot on that show, it is always treated as a priority to get the bullet out, and it is also assumed that doing so will save the person, often all by itself. The finale to season six contained a notable example.
* In ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'' season 1, a very unfortunate Irishman gets shot in the buttocks. Since he's a wanted criminal in most parts of the world, they cannot take him to the hospital, so they take him to the Sons' clubhouse and instantly start digging up the bullet with the help of pliers and whiskey. This goes just as well as you'd expect, and once they get the bullet out, he starts gushing blood all over the place.
* Justified in an episode of ''Series/{{MASH}}'', where the 4077 gets a patient that has a ''live grenade'' in him.
* In ''Series/{{Castle}}'', Castle becomes an impromptu bullet-remover [[spoiler:for his own father, because going to the hospital would compromise his mission]].
* Doctors on NY Med told a shooting victim's mother that they would leave the bullet in her son, as it had lodged itself in his calf and would do no further damage. The mother, believing in this trope, immediately put up a fuss.
* In ''Series/{{Underbelly}}'', Johnny Ibrahim's mates take him to a vet to have a bullet removed, as the corrupt police officers have declared that there are to be no shootings in King's Cross, and a hospital would have to report the shooting to the police. Then they take him to a hospital.
* Subverted in ''Series/BostonLegal''. A man is shot while robbing a convenience store, and a man who later appeared at a hospital with a bullet wound in the same area is arrested and the police try to get the bullet out to see if it's a match for the one in the store owner's gun. He successfully takes them to court to allow him to leave the bullet in. He is later given the card for an under the radar option to get the bullet out.
* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Extinction", Clark Kent is shot with a kryptonite bullet, so his parents have to get it out before the kryptonite kills him. As soon as they get it out and take the bullet a safe distance away, his wound heals up.
* Averted in an episode of ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', of all places. After debris falls over the MonsterOfTheWeek's [[VictimOfTheWeek host]] and a shard of glass pierces through her waist, Akira correctly warns Gotou not to pull it out, since it's probably plugging in several blood vessels, stopping them from bleeding out. Turns out he used to be part of a team of doctors who travelled around the world aiding those in need.
* Marvel's Netflix franchises:
** Defied in ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}''. After Vladimir gets shot by Wilson Fisk's corrupt cops, Matt Murdock is left receiving advice from Claire Temple on how to cauterize the wound. He assumes he needs to remove the bullet, but Claire bluntly informs him that having an untrained medic (and a ''blind'' one at that) rooting around will cause far more damage than just leaving the bullet in. Matt is forced to cauterize the wound with a road flare, which inadvertently draws a passing police officer to the scene and makes a mess in a whole different sense.
** Done twice by Claire in ''Series/LukeCage2016''. First, she does it on Rafael Scarfe after he gets shot by Cottonmouth. Later, she tries to do it on Luke after he gets shot by Diamondback with a Judas bullet, but with little success. She's forced to take Luke to the doctor who oversaw the original experiment that gave Luke his abilities to give Luke an acid bath.
** ''Series/ThePunisher2017'':
*** After the torture and execution of Ahmed Zubair, Frank Castle removes the bullet he just put in Zubair's head, which greatly unsettles Gunner Henderson, the Marine who's helping him bury the body in an unmarked grave. This foreshadows that Gunner was the leaker who filmed the Zubair execution.
*** When Frank tracks down Gunner upon realizing he's the one who filmed the tape, he gets a friendly arrow to the right shoulder from Gunner. The wound gradually becomes infected with bacteria, so when Frank and David get back to New York, David has to bring Curtis Hoyle in to get the arrowhead out, which is a very painful experience.
*** Billy Russo gets shot in the right arm by a DHS agent as he's fleeing Micro's base. In the start of the next episode, he's extracting the bullet himself prior to killing a bunch of DHS agents sent to apprehend him at his apartment.
* ''Series/TheATeam''. In the episode "[[Recap/TheATeamS2E23CurtainCall Curtain Call]]", Murdock is shot and Hannibal takes the bullet out with a knife. Subverted, as Hannibal is not concerned about the bullet itself (he notes that bullets often sterilize themselves in the barrel) but about the pieces of cloth that it took with it. However, it is still portrayed as a dangerous operation.
* A [[JustifiedTrope justified]] example in the ''Series/{{Supergirl 2015}}'' episode "The Darkest Place": Mon-El has been shot with a basic lead bullet, but he's lethally allergic to lead, so the bullet has to be removed before it kills him.
* {{Subverted}} on ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' when Malcolm Reed is shot with a projectile gun on an alien planet and ends up with a bullet in his leg. Dr. Phlox administers basic first aid, but doesn't try removing the bullet until they're back on ''Enterprise''.
* ''Series/{{Lucifer 2016}}'': When Linda is coaching Maze over the phone on how to fix a gunshot wound, her first piece of advice is to check if the bullet is still in there (which Maze does by ''[[WorstAid sticking her hand into the wound]]''), and then says she needs to get the bullet out. In Linda's defense, [[NotThatKindOfDoctor she's a psychiatrist, not a medical doctor]].


* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** Played straight in ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'', where a gangster was shot in the chest, miraculously survived and had an operation to remove the bullet, or else he'd die in six months. Justified by the bullet's location, extremely close to the aorta. (It also required the services of a world-class surgeon, for the same reason--the slightest mistake could result in the patient dying.)
** Averted in the first game: [[spoiler: Manfred von Karma]] had a bullet lodged in their shoulder for 15 years. It's incriminating evidence, but they didn't remove it because doing so safely would require a surgery, leaving a medical record.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', Snake is able to dig out bullets, arrows and various other projectiles from his body with his knife. Doing this ingame will cause the wounds to heal faster, but leaving them over time will cause the wounds to naturally heal around them, leaving the projectile in the for remainder of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'', Marcus the Mutant carries a substantial amount of munitions in his hide. If you bring him to the leading doctor in Vault City (which requires substantial authority, as mutants are usually not allowed inside), the doctor will dig out several dozen rounds (fully reusable) of various ammunition and an undetonated frag grenade. The doctor mentions that Marcus was in a very real risk of suffering fatal lead poisoning.
* In ''VideoGame/FarCry2'', when a player's health drops to a critical level they must perform emergency first aid before they bleed out by, of all things, ripping/cutting bullets out of their body with pliers or a knife, accompanied by a blood spurt. Then again, another healing animation involves resetting the ulna bone that is poking out of the elbow socket, so it's not like this game can really double as a trauma surgeon simulation.
* In ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'': A New Frontier, a character gets shot in their midsection, which leads to a pretty nasty scene involving trying to '''STRETCH OPEN THE WOUND AND PULL THE BULLET OUT'''

* In ''Webcomic/CuantaVida'', Scout is shot in the arm. He doesn't want to go to the Medic, so Pyro removes it for him. Possibly justified as Pyro (probably) isn't a doctor, and might not know any better.
* In ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'', Scout Arael in her civilian wear removes a sniper's bullet from Jigsaw's chest -- it may be justified not only because we don't know if it's some kind of futuristic bullet, but also in that [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Jigsaw is a vampire]] -- so it's possible she was "staked" by the bullet, requiring its removal.
* Possibly justified in ''Webcomic/FreakAngels'', as apparently the bullet remaining in the wound screws up their HealingFactor somehow or other, and in any case the two individuals we see getting shot are neither in the presence of TheMedic or especially well-equipped with brains.
* Subverted and lampshaded in ''Webcomic/ZombieRanch''; you think this is what Chuck is going to do when he's operating on Brett's shoulder. Instead, he just yanks a piece of Brett's shirt out of the wound.
--> '''Chuck''': "Take that bullet out, are you ''crazy''? Guess it goes without sayin', but...[[YouWatchTooMuchX you folks watch way too much T.V.]]"

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''AudioPlay/WereAlive'' features this when [[spoiler: Saul is shot]] and the bullet is removed without proper tools, antiseptics, or [[spoiler: morphine]]. Plus the only one actually trained to perform the operation is [[spoiler: Saul himself]].
* ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'' has a scene where the angel [[spoiler: Michel]] is demanding a bullet be taken out of him. [[spoiler:Justified since angels have healing powers that have already healed over the bullet wound and that said bullet was an [[ColdIron iron]] round that was burning inside of him.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Twig}}'', Jamie removes a bullet from Sylvester after the latter is shot, duplicating battlefield surgery using a PhotographicMemory rather than acting on any foundational medical knowledge.

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Simple Simpson", after Homer (as the Pie Man) gets shot in the arm, Lisa later finds him in the kitchen digging the bullet out of his arm with a butcher knife, while naming the things the knife is touching (including "vein", "nerve" and "bone").
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''. When Phantom Limb [[EnemyMine rescues Brock Samson]], he gives the following comment:
-->'''Phantom Limb:''' No, don't get up. You've been shot. Sadly, it wasn't fatal. I've removed the bullet and three others, a blowgun dart, two sharks teeth, the tip of a bayonet, a twisted paper clip and a meager handful of buckshot. You may want to learn to duck.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}''. Sterling gets shot by border patrol and is taken to an unlicensed Mexican veterinarian. He removes the bullets and sets Archer up on an IV... only to tell him none of what he did helped at all and he needs to see a real doctor as quickly as possible.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' "To Another Shore": Devil Ray shoots a poison dart into Wonder Woman's shoulder which is removed to keep any more poison from seeping in. The dart has a barb, so she's advise to "find a bullet to bite".

* This features in the cases of several United States presidents:
** Most researchers agree that when UsefulNotes/JamesGarfield was shot, probing for the bullet (with dirty instruments, and ''not even coming close to finding it'') did more to kill him than the bullet itself. Not helping matters was that the doctors were afraid that the bullet punctured his intestines and decided to administer food and whiskey.... [[AssShove rectally.]] James Garfield lost 100 pounds from starvation by the time he died. The assassin tried to use this in his defense at trial, but was convicted and hanged anyway.
--->'''Charles Guiteau:''' The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him.
** UsefulNotes/WilliamMcKinley's doctors elected to remove only one of two bullets, fearing they would do more harm than good. They had the right idea, but he inevitably died of gangrene anyway, because the shot had punctured his intestines and antibiotics had not yet been discovered.
** UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt got shot and -- [[TaughtByExperience remembering what happened to Garfield and McKinley]], the latter being his immediate predecessor -- decided not to have the bullet removed, and survived. [[MemeticBadass (In his case, the bullet was too afraid of Roosevelt to kill him.)]]
*** In Roosevelt's case he was about to give a speech when shot, he declined medical attention until 'after' he was done speaking.
** UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan ended up being a rather unusual case where politics ended up playing a part. After he was shot through the armpit, doctors decided to probe for the bullet since they did not have the equipment to find out what it had damaged. After fifteen minutes of not finding it, the doctor doing the probing wanted to stop, since Reagan was a very old man and it was unlikely his body could handle too much. They decided to continue, partly out of fear that the media would claim incompetent doctors had left a bullet inside the President. This later turned out to be a good decision, because the bullet was an ''explosive'' one that had thus far failed to detonate. That's one of the few situations when we really do Have To Get The Bullet Out.
** UsefulNotes/AndrewJackson had at least one bullet in him for 19 years that surgeons didn't remove because they were afraid of causing more damage. Perhaps not the only one, as he was described as having so many bullets in him that he rattled.
*** He eventually begged a doctor to remove the bullet because it had been causing him chronic pain.
* When Wild Bill Hickok was murdered, the bullet passed through his head and lodged in the wrist of another man at the table. The man left the bullet there the rest of his life, and apparently reveled in the fact that he had the bullet that killed Wild Bill in his arm.
* [[Series/CrocodileHunter Steve Irwin]] reportedly pulled out the stingray barb that had punctured his heart. Some speculate that he may have survived to get medical help if it had been left in place.
* An elderly man in Britain went to the doctor complaining of dizziness, and as part of the tests they took an X-ray of the man's head. The results showed a bullet lodged at the base of the skull. When the man was asked if he was aware that he carried a bullet in his neck he said, "No, I had no idea. It must have been there since WWII, because I haven't been shot at since!" The doctor decided that in that case, it would probably be best to leave the bullet alone. There are several other stories where doctors discover bullets from old wounds still inside a person, often without the patient ever realizing it.
* When there's no pressing need to remove a foreign object, it's common to take a wait-and-see approach. If it is necessary to remove the object, it's safer to do so after the immediate trauma has already healed.
* There is also a ''geographical'' version of this trope: live ordnance from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI still littering the fields of France. Because quality-control standards were just so poor at the time (it's estimated that ''one third'' of all artillery shells fired by British guns during the Franco-British Somme Offensive of 1916 were defective), farmers have had a century's experience of plowing up bullets and shells by now. More tragically, former war zones in several third-world countries are full of land mines and no one has the money or authority to remove them. Occasionally an unlucky villager will step on one and get blown up.
** The grounds of the Vimy Ridge War Memorial are a particular example of this. The artillery bombardment (immediately prior to the taking of this ground from German forces in 1917) consisted of over a ''million'' shells, a (relatively) small portion of which failed to explode immediately. There remain fenced-off fields, pitted with grass-filled craters from a century before, where visitors are not permitted to walk. Sheep graze in some of these areas, and every once in a long while...
*** They're still finding unexploded shells from UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. These shells are a hundred and fifty years old, and have been known to explode at random around some battlefields. Some areas in and around the battlefields remain closed off even today for this reason.
** It's not just war zones, former artillery training areas usually leave some projectiles behind. Fortunately, since they are training grounds, the rounds are usually non-explosive. [[note]]Do ''not'' assume that the round is non-explosive, though. Assuming it is likely to get you, or anyone with you, killed. When stumbling across one, the only thing you should assume is that it is explosive and hasn't exploded ''yet'', note the location, and get out of there to call it in for the professionals to get rid of.[[/note]]
** Over twenty years on and in the middle of a whole new war, Afghans are still being killed by Soviet mines.
** A [=WW2=] example, there is a sunken Liberty Ship near London that was carrying a cargo of explosives. The ship hasn't been removed because of fears of the whole cargo blowing up.
** Many cities bombarded during [=WW2=] still have unexploded bombs lying around. A recent case was in September 2017, when a 250kg bomb in Vienna forced 400 people to evacuate the area while the bomb was removed.
* There have been multiple real life cases where people end up in the emergency room [=and/or=] field hospital with live grenades embedded somewhere not immediately lethal. In these cases [[JustifiedTrope the object must be removed ASAP]], preferably with a bomb squad on hand and often with hard-to-replace equipment (or personnel) well out of the blast radius.
* For more Real Life examples: This is usually only done if the bullet is pressing and/or pierced something vital. If the bullet is resting right on a nerve or major blood vessel, they'll pull it out because it's better that it happens in the OR rather than days, weeks, months, or years later, as it could shift.
* Averted notably in one World War 2 officer. Surgeons were looking at a bullet that somehow had lodged itself in the knee of an Allied officer with no problems. The doctor advised against pulling it out, as even the smallest probe he had would be too big to not damage something important.