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Determined Doctor

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West Africa, 2015, during the Ebola outbreak

I'm a doctor. You're my patient. That's all I need to know.
Dr. Julian Bashir, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 2, Episode 22 "The Wire"
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A somewhat common trait among characters who are doctors or clerics, when their desire to cure is their first (sometimes only) priority; it doesn't matter if the character they're trying to heal is a villain, a monster, doesn't want to be healed, or is just plain rude; the medic will not give up on trying to help them.

Can be an indication of a tragic Backstory, where the character lost someone close to them, and vowed to never let that happen to anyone else.

Can be a case of Stupid Good, when the patient they refuse to give up on will probably kill them or go on to murder a lot of people after the medic saves them.

The care needed by the patient need not necessarily be urgent. The trope can simply show that no matter how much verbal or physical abuse the patient might throw at the healer, and however fed up the healer might get with the patient, the healer will not retaliate by leaving the patient to his fate.

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Compare Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath where a healer is obligated to render aid in situations where they ought to hesitate.


Examples

No matter what happens, I promise you...

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    Anime And Manga 
  • This is the Modus Operandi of Black Jack. Black Jack is an unlicensed doctor whose healing abilities are unparalleled. He'll charge exorbitant prices for his services when dealing with the rich and takes meager offerings from the poor, but once he takes on a patient, he will do everything in his power to fully treat them.
  • Ranma ½: Dr. Tofu is the medic of the Furinkan high school and a close friend of Tendo's family. On one occasion, he heals one of Ranma and Akane's enemies. When she complains, asking why he did that, he responds that his work is to heal humans, no matter which side they're on. Also, he took Shampoo (Akane's Arch-Rival) under his wing as his medical assistant for a while.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men character Elixir is determined to help and heal as many people as he can while his powers are running properly. This imperative vanishes if his power is corrupted or damaged, but returns when his powers are restored to normal. Triage has similar powers to Elixir but has not shown the "must heal no matter what" compulsion.

    Fan Works 
  • In Alice, Girl from the Future fanfics:
    • In Those That Creep in the Night, Alice behaves like this towards her Friendly Enemy, who insists his injuries (third- or fourth-degree burns) will quickly heal by themselves and tries to fight off her attempts to treat them. She just finds a first-aid kit, tells him to be quiet and gets to work.
    • A similar situation involving the same characters (only with the enemy having turned friend for good and the injury in question being a broken rib) takes place in Disappeared Ships, Carrots and All the Rest.
      Alice: Breathe out all the air, please. And all the nastiness as well.
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    Film 
  • Big Hero 6: Baymax is programmed to be this. He literally cannot shut down until sufficient aid has been rendered.
    Baymax: I cannot deactivate until you say 'I am satisfied with my care.'
  • Hacksaw Ridge tells the real-life story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss who nonetheless became a combat medic for the Americans in WWII. He was resolved to save as many lives as he could on the battlefields of Okinawa, even if there was just a remote chance of helping them, until he either collapsed or died trying. He even treated Japanese soldiers who were too weak to fight back to the death.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Bashir. Just, Bashir. In the early seasons, he seemed like a bit of a fop or a lightweight, but put a life in danger or under his care and it was a near instant transformation to Determinator badass.
      • On one occasion, Bashir was forced to endure lies and verbal abuse from Garak, when the latter was suffering from psychological and physiological complications brought on by a malfunctioning implant in his brain. Despite the vicious and constant vitriol from Garak, Bashir never wavered in his determination to heal him.
      • Another one from Garak. When the crew's transporter patterns were cached in the holodeck during "Our Man Bashir," turning a silly game into a serious "kill the character, kill the person" scenario, Bashir shot Garak to prevent him from endangering the others. It's deliberately ambiguous as to whether Bashir intended to merely graze Garak or go for a kill shot if needed.
      • On another occasion, Bashir attempted to cure the Jem'Hadar's dependence on Ketrecel White, a drug used to maintain their loyalty to the Dominion - his obsession with doing was such that O'Brien had to physically sabotage his work snap him out of it.
      • On yet another occasion, Bashir's unshakeable will to heal actually resulted in the first child born without "the Blight" in a society where literally everyone is born with and dies from the disease, despite not actually curing the disease. Even after this minor success, he still endeavours to find a cure, long past the episode where it is introduced.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: Determination to render medical care no matter what goes all the way back to the original series and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Understandable, given that McCoy's whole character largely focuses on morality and preventing harm whenever possible.
      • In "Mirror, Mirror", Despite Kirk having had to knock Mirror Spock out when he risked interfering in their plan to return home (and Mirror Spock's increased ruthlessness as compared to their Spock, befitting the universe he comes from), McCoy insists on saving him — which would pay off for them in the end.
      • In "Friday's Child", McCoy persists in treating Eleen, the pregnant wife of the late local leader, despite her irritation about it. Ultimately, he slaps her to get her to cooperatenote  and goes back to work.
      • This also puts him at odds with Kirk from time to time, given the captain's tendency to horrify McCoy by staying on his feet as long as possible during a crisis.
  • On M*A*S*H, all of the competent surgeons treat the most wounded patients that come in to the 4077th first, whether they are Allied soldiers or enemy POWs; or as Hawkeye Pierce says to Frank Burns, "When they come in here, the uniforms come off." This dedication to the Hippocratic oath is why first Col. Blake and then Col. Potter tolerate (and sometimes cover for) the shenanigans of Trapper, BJ, and Hawkeye; it's also what enables Hawkeye, BJ and Charles to work together despite vast differences in personality. In fact, the above mentioned Major Burns is unique as the sole Inversion of this trope amongst the regular cast.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Emu Hojo starts out as naive, but determined pediatric intern, who took this attitude from his idol, Kyotaro Hinata, a surgeon who saved his life after a childhood incident. Patients are always his first priority regardless of who they are and he is very much annoyance-proof when it comes to their behavior. The most notable example is when Emu finds out that the current Big Bad is ill and about to be taken to prison when he will probably die and convinces everyone from authorities to his teammates to let the man be treated first.
    • Other doctors on team initially have a nasty tendency of throwing everything out to fight each other, but they learnt from Emu to be more professional just as he learnt to be more realistic.

    Literature 
  • In The Black Book and Schwambrania by Lev Kassil, the narrator's father is a doctor and readily admits an injured criminal into his hospital. Even when a crowd gathers outside, prepared to lynch that criminal, he continues to treat him. The mob still lynches him after he is cured and discharged.
  • In The Sorcerer's Daughter, Rothbart is cursed to become a monstrosity if he ever heals three people without magic. Nevertheless, he says that he will never hesitate to come to any sick or wounded person's aid. When the plague breaks out, it is clear he has told the truth as the only thing he thinks about is saving the people, without any thought of how it would affect him.
  • In The Year of the Rat, Ryska insistently helps a very bad-tempered drugged and wounded rat Alk (actually, a human in rat form), despite the latter (initially) only wishing to die.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Apocalypse World: The Angel playbook (a.k.a. the dedicated healer) has a move called "Battlefield Grace", which gives them massive Damage Reduction when they administer medical aid in the heat of battle. In other words, it encourages them to exemplify this trope.
  • Dungeons & Dragons supplement Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia.
    • The Celtic deity Diancecht will heal both friends and enemies during combat.
    • Any Celtic cleric of at least 12th Character Level has a 10% chance of summoning Diancecht if they go on a year-long pilgrimage to heal all injured creatures, including enemies of opposite Character Alignment.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Litchi Faye-Ling, the resident doctor, is determined to turn her old friend Arakune to normal, even if she has to make questionable decisions along the way, or even if Arakune himself warned her not to go too far and told her to stop. Eventually, she meets Arakune's disembodied soul (Roy) who insists to her that he prefers staying that way, saying that the two have been playing a game of "who's more selfish", which apparently he won.
  • Implied for the player character in Cold And Flu Invasion: His job is throwing healing pills to the sick sprites and the instructions end in inspirational slogans such as "You can do it and you know it!". He's also described as making his tough job look easy when the player wins and every time the player clears a level, he shouts, "Yippee!".
  • Florence Nightingale in Fate/Grand Order is summoned as a Berserker, which causes her to have a compulsion to heal anyone she can no matter what due to the Mad Enhancement. It is to the point that she will threaten her own patients if they are being uncooperative and generally disregards her own health if it means saving someone.

    Webcomics 
  • Dr. Bowman from Freefall was this in his younger years. He was a combat medic for a bunch of uplifted chimpanzee soldiers, being one himself. Unfortunately, because they were created to be biological weapons and chimps were chosen specifically for their aggressive natures and would often become frenzied when injured, he frequently had to beat the casualties under his care unconscious so he could treat them.

    Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: In "Albatross", McCoy keeps up his status as a medical Determinator from the original series when Spock conducts a jailbreak so he can Find the Cure! for the plague that ravaged the planet and is currently killing the Enterprise crew. McCoy immediately tells Spock to take him back to the Enterprise despite the high odds against him (only he and Spock are still fully capable) and the reality that he'll contract the plague and die as well if he fails.
    McCoy: I'm a doctor, Spock. A doctor. Get us beamed aboard!

    Real Life 
  • Justified in the books that describe veterinary medicine:
    • Gerald Durrell describes the huge trouble of treating wild animals. In particular, some of his patients firmly resisted treatment — such as a bittern that tore the bandages off its broken wing every morning, so that Durrell and his wife had to put them back over and over again.
    • In the works by James Herriot, there is often the matter of overpowering the patient (in cases such as castrating huge bulls or treating awful-tempered dogs) and/or struggling with the patient's owner (for example, the recurring character Mr. Biggins who adamantly refuses to pay for modern and effective treatment, preferring something old-fashioned and cheap).
    • To say nothing of the thousands of vets who, every year, adopt special-needs patients whose medical diagnoses would otherwise mark them for euthanasia at humane shelters, then provide necessary treatments out of their own labor and pockets.

...I will not let you die today!

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