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Lodged Blade Removal

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After someone has been stuck with a knife, they pull it out. Maybe to be thrown away contemptuously to show that they are immune to such a trifling injury. Or because they're in the thick of battle and can't fight with it sticking out of them. Or because they're such a badass, they're going to take and use the weapon for themselves. Or because they don't know that no matter how much it hurts, it's best not to try and take it out. It'll either be pulled out with no reaction beyond hissing in pain or with an accompanying scream. It doesn't have to be a knife. It can also be a spear, arrow, stick, broken bottle, etc. Bottom line, it's in them and they're going to take it out right now.

This is a sub-trope of Artistic License – Medicine, but characters who don't have a medical background really can't be expected to be aware of this. Instinct takes over sometimes. A foreign object is in you, it hurts, do your best to take it out. Definitely a subtrope of Worst Aid. In fiction, people do this and tend to come out just fine; however, in Real Life, this does go against all medical advice. If someone is stabbed and the implement is still in place, medical wisdom is that it is best to leave it alone until such time as a trained medical professional who knows what they are doing can remove it under proper conditions. This means carefully immobilizing it as best as possible and transporting them to a hospital with it still in place.

The stabbing implement often acts as a plug to reduce blood loss, and rapidly removing it means more blood loss, which will just make things worse. Also in the case of knives with jagged edges, or barbed arrows and spearheads, removing it without taking proper precautions means it's going to cause even more damage on the way out.

A Sister Trope to We Have to Get the Bullet Out! and Lodged-Blade Recycling (which occurs when the weapon, upon removal, is then used against their attacker). Examples involving either of those should be listed on their respective pages and not here.

Related to Annoying Arrows. Depending on how the person reacts, both Made of Iron and Dented Iron can come into play. If the person makes things worse or even dies by pulling the object out, it's a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome.

Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon can come into play. Definitely one of the Injury Tropes. Only a Flesh Wound can be present, as well as Seppuku.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Shirase manages to get Chuuya's guard down and stabs him with a butterfly knife, though the boy at least has the sense to escape before pulling it out. Possibly justified given the blade was coated in rat poison and Chuuya is a street kid who likely wouldn't know it's unsafe. However, the injury is treated as serious but not life-threatening.
  • Durarara!!: Discussed. In the finale, Izaya is stabbed with a ballistic knife by Vorona, which stays lodged in his abdomen. He later wakes up on the way to a doctor outside Ikebukuro and notices the knife still in him with Celty's shadows around it, stopping the bleeding. Kine advises Izaya not to remove it as if he did, he would bleed out in the car and die.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has multiple instances of this:
    • Lust is stabbed in the head by Hughes after she attempts to kill him for getting too close to discovering the plans for Amestris. As he runs off to call Mustang, she pries the knife out of her forehead and voices her annoyance at the situation. Justified since she's an immortal homunculus with a Healing Factor.
    • During a fight with Lan Fan, Envy takes a kunai to the head, which they respond to by angrily ripping the blade out and using it for an unsuccessful sneak attack. While they complain that she killed them for the third time in a row, being a homunculus, Envy can also easily heal from the damage and death usually doesn't stick.
    • A non-homunculus example occurs midway through the series with Edward, who — after surviving an explosion inside a building — finds himself incapacitated and impaled by a large girder through his gut. Ed and two Chimera quickly go over his options, addressing that even though he's bleeding badly, pulling it out will only kill him faster. Ed posits his only workaround: they pull it out of him, and the instant it's out, he'll transmute part of his own soul to mend his flesh and bloodflow. Despite the excruciating pain, Ed manages to pull it off before passing out from shock, though being just a temporary solution, he's still put out of commission for a while for proper medical treatment and recovery.
    • Captain Buccaneer is stabbed through the abdomen by Wrath and passes out for a bit. When he comes to, he considers the blade before realizing pulling it out would meaning bleeding out and dying. However, while the battle continues, Fu is fatally slashed by Wrath, negating his suicide attack. Just in that instant, Buccaneer uses Fu as a cover, pulls the sword out of his stomach, and stabs it through Fu and into Wrath. He does shortly after, but his act prevents the other man's sacrifice for being in vain.
  • A Defied Trope in the Animated Adaptation of Gate: While defending the Jade Palace from an assault by renegade soldiers, one Japanese private takes an arrow to the shoulder. His squad commander immediately orders that no one try to remove it. "If you pull it out, there'll be blood everywhere," he advises. The wound is bandaged as is instead, left for professional medics to remove.
  • Koga does this in Kengan Ashura when he gets a number of knives tossed into him, and even tosses the pulled knife at one of his assailants. The guy he's fighting declares it to be a stupid decision, since it means he'll bleed out faster, but Koga uses the spurt of blood from his arm to blind the guy and take him out. True to the guy's prediction, it takes Koga months to bounce back from the fight.
  • Invoked in Mad Bull 34. A police officer is stabbed by an assassin and told that there's a decent chance he'll live if the blade is left in and he is rushed to a hospital. So after forcing him to radio in to lure out the protagonist, said assassin promptly tears it out, condemning him to death by high pressure bloodloss.
  • Naruto: Hidan's gimmick is that he is immortal and can turn himself into a living Voodoo Doll. He first demonstrates his abilities by stabbing himself in the leg, causing his victim to suffer the same injury. He then pulls out the spear and tries to deliver the Coup de Grâce by running it through his heart.
  • Transformers Victory: During their final battle, Star Saber and Deathsaurus engage in a Single-Stroke Battle that the Autobot wins, leaving the tip of his sword lodged in his enemy's chest. In a final show of defiance, Deathsaurus rips the broken blade out and curses Star Saber before collapsing out of a nearby airlock, never to be seen again.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In "Out-of-Dungeon Experiences", Demonic Possession Ami does this to herself after an Assassination Attempt involving being stabbed with two weapons (one In the Back). She can do it because she has a Healing Factor due to possessing an ice golem possessing body at the time, which makes her a bit harder to kill.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): In Supernatural Support Society, Tatsuya at one point drops his sword on his foot by sheer surprise, and a bit later pulls it out "exactly in the way you're not supposed to". The government agents who broke into the house are a bit shocked at that, even though the other residents assure them he'll be fine.
  • This Bites!: During his fight against the Amigo Pirates on Little East Blue, Cross gets a dagger thrown in his back by Largo, which he proceeds to rip out in defiance of Largo's assumption that this takes him out of commission. Chopper calls him out on this when patching him up after the fight, pointing out how lucky he was that nothing vital got hit in the initial attack or damaged by its rough removal.
  • Windows of the Soul: Discussed and Defied. Natsuki is stabbed in the thigh by a vengeful survivor of District One who was trying to murder Shizuru. Natsuki narrates the fact that she was aware that pulling the knife would be the worst thing she could do, and she waits for emergency care, though it's excruciating all the same.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman vs. Robin: Nightwing is stabbed by several Talons while defending Wayne Manor. He is later seen pulling the spears out of his body and bandaging the wounds.
  • Attempted in Heavy Metal during the "Taarna" segment. As the Council of Elders try to summon a Defender, an acolyte rushes to barricade the chamber door against the barbarian horde. The barrier crumbles before their assault, and the acolyte receives a number of darts at close range, falling supine at this barrage. One dart is lodged in his throat, and he tries in a panic to pull it out. He dies before that happens, however.
  • In Shrek, after the attack by Robin Hood, Shrek finds an arrow lodged in his bum. He accepts it but Donkey freaks out that Shrek is going to die. To get Donkey out of the way, Fiona sends him off on a Wild Goose Chase and eventually pulls the arrow out. Shrek doesn't really feel it until she actually removes it.
  • The Transformers: The Movie: During their climactic duel, Megatron hurls a sharp piece of debris at Optimus Prime, impaling him on the left side of his abdomen. Optimus avoids a couple of follow-up shots from Megatron's fusion cannon before punching him into a wall and then takes the time to remove the debris. Unfortunately, Megatron is wily enough to strike at the wound, first with a laser sword and later with several shots from a laser pistol, the combined damage eventually turning out to be fatal. In Optimus' defense, the debris was large enough to clearly be a hindrance in the fight, so leaving it in wasn't an option.
  • A Defied Trope in Wizards, when good wizard Avatar intervenes in the trial of Elinore, who stands accused of killing the fairy Sean. Avatar receives a fairy arrow in his left shoulder but does nothing about it. This forbearance convinces the fairy king that Avatar and Elinore are not hostile, and that their claim of only passing through to confront the evil wizard Blackwolf is true. Avatar and Elinore get teleported to the snowy mountains at the edge of the fairy kingdom, and only then does Elinore extract the arrow from Avatar.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in Braveheart. When Hamish's father is wounded by an arrow during a battle Hamish immediately goes to yank the arrow out, which earns him a Dope Slap from his father. Dad breaks off the shaft of the arrow so he can keep fighting, and they wait until that night, when the wound can be properly treated, before removing the head of the arrow.
  • In Crimson Peak, both Thomas Sharpe and Alan McMichael remove knives from their bodies after being stabbed, resulting in Thomas dying and Alan narrowly surviving (albeit with considerable blood loss). While the first case is forgivable as Thomas was stabbed in the face and would have died anyway, Alan is a doctor and really should know better.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool impales Francis through the leg with his katana, which goes all the way through his leg and into the concrete lane divider of the highway. Francis can't pull the sword out because it's wedged too deeply into the concrete, so he breaks off the hilt. This lets him pull his leg off of the sword, instead of pulling the sword out of his leg.
  • Done to Holga in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Somewhat understandable— the character had been stabbed in the heart with a Red Wizard's blade, meaning they were a goner regardless.
  • Forklift Driver Klaus has a box cutter, placed on a box the titular character is hoisting, fall on a worker's head. When bell rings for lunchtime, he removes it and comes out with only a stunned expression and a stumbling gait while the box cutter breaks.
  • The Hobbit: The dwarf Bifur has an axe-head lodged on his forehead off-screen and it cut through his brain deep enough to make him unable to speak the Common Tongue (all his quotes are in Khuzdul, which make him unintelligible to the audience). The blade is eventually removed in the third movie courtesy of an orc headbutting him right before falling to his death. Amusingly, Bifur instantly regains the ability to speak Westron and lets out his frustration with the following quote:
    Bifur: You know where you can stick that? [points to the axe-head that his cousin Bombur just recovered]
  • A Knight's Tale features both Count Adhemar and William pulling out pieces of the other's lances. For Adhemar (in the first fight), it's just a large splinter caught under his arm, making it relatively harmless. The first lance in the final joust sees the tipped end of Adhemar's lance dug into Will's shoulder. Will tells Roland to remove it, and it is left open since they can't bandage it with armor on. Removing it doesn't lead to much blood loss (the hole in his shirt is the size of a penny), but Will is impaired by it and a subsequent blow that forces him to ditch his armor and ask Wat to lash his final lance to his arm so he can hold it.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers: Loki and Thor fight each other and the latter implores his brother to see the horrors of his attack on New York and stop. Loki appears to be considering his words for a few moments before stabbing Thor with a push knife and getting away. Thor proceeds to simply pull it out and toss it before immediately going back to the fight, merely looking frustrated. Justified since he's an Asgardian.
    • Invoked in Black Panther: after Killmonger is stabbed in the chest in his duel with T'Challa, he leaves the blade in to have a short conversation and watch the sunset, then pulls it out and quickly dies of blood loss.
  • In The Martian, Watney wakes up from being knocked unconscious by a flying antenna which speared him in the stomach by an antenna and it needs to be removed. Can be seen here: antenna removal. This is a more justified case than usual, because Watney has to remove it in order to be untethered from the debris and be able to make it back inside the Hab where he can perform self-surgery to take care of the wound after he's been mistakenly abandoned by the rest of the crew.
  • Mr .and Mrs. Smith: Played for laughs. During the climactic battle, Jane accidentally (or possibly accidentally on purpose) hits John in the leg with a thrown kitchen knife. He barely reacts, except to be clearly frustrated with her, and pulls it out saying "We'll talk about this later!"
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Elizabeth stabs Barbossa in the neck with a kitchen knife. However, since the man has been cursed to be immortal, he simply pulls the knife out and taunts her.
  • The Princess Bride: Count Rugen throws a dagger at Inigo Montoya, impaling him in the belly. Inigo at first seems to be overcome by the pain and shock of the injury, but Rugen's taunting angers him enough to summon the strength to pull the dagger out, deflect Rugen's attempts to stab him, and eventually fight Rugen and kill him.
  • Shaun of the Dead: Shaun gets a dart thrown into his head, as a result of Diane trying to help him fight off a zombie. After the zombie is dealt with, Shaun pulls the dart out, and aside from wearing a headband around the wound, does nothing to treat it.
  • Strange Days: During a brutal fight at the end with the killer (Max), Lenny gets stabbed in the back before throwing the villain over a balcony; the killer grabs Lenny's tie to attempt a Taking You with Me, but Lenny yanks the knife out of himself and slices the tie with it, sending Max plummeting to certain death.
  • The final duel between Golden Snake and Master Wan in The Sword Stained With Royal Blood ends with Golden Snake getting impaled by Wan's sword through his gut. Choosing death over dishonor, Golden Snake then pulls his sword out (complete with a generous helping of High-Pressure Blood) in front of his beloved, Siu-yi, where he died in her arms.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day has a duel between the T-800, protector of John Connor, and the T-1000, sent to expunge John Connor. Having knocked the T-800 onto the steel foundry's walkway grating, the T-1000 slams a length of pipe like a spear through the T-800's torso, pinning the older terminator in place. This also drains the T-800's main battery, and it shuts down. However, once the T-1000 goes searching for John Connor, the T-800 activates a reserve power cell and pulls the pipe all the way through itself. No longer pinned to the grating, the T-800 rejoins the fight.

  • Battle Ground: Played for Black Comedy when Queen Mab is impaled through the throat. Butters thinks she's a goner, gets reminded that she's immortal and only inconvenienced by the Cold Iron, apologetically braces his foot on her head, and yanks the spear out.
  • The Belgariad: Defied when Adara takes an arrow to the chest. Her would-be love interest Hettar panics and intends to pull it out, but someone with more sense orders him to leave it alone so they can take Adara to someone with Healing Hands.
  • Averted in an early Doc Savage story. Doc is in a hospital and comes across a doctor who has been stabbed in the chest, with the knife left in place. Doc immediately comes to his aid and warns him not to try to pull the knife out. The doctor coughs weakly and replies that he knows better than that.
  • Rivers of London: In Moon over Soho Ash Thames is stabbed by a piece of a wrought iron fence. Even though the ambulance crew try to keep it in the wound, Ash begs Peter to remove it since it is iron, which is more dangerous to the demi-monde than just blood loss. Since he is a genius loci of one of Thames tributaries, being thrown into the river saves his life.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows: Deconstructed. Rubin trips and gets impaled on an ax. He begs Billy to pull it out of him, and Billy obliges. Rubin instantly dies from blood loss.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Bones there's an episode where Brennan does this when she gets stabbed in the arm. And it may be a case of Too Dumb to Live because as a forensic anthropologist she ought to have enough anatomical knowledge to know better.
  • Played for laughs on The Carol Burnett Show. One skit features Carol and Tim Conway as a clumsy couple trying to save money by renovating their mountain cottage themselves. As they enter, Tim is carrying a bunch of tools, including a big screwdriver. Carol bumps into him, shoving its blade into his gut. She asks if he's bleeding, he says, "only internally" and pulls it out and tosses it aside. He suffers no ill effects but bumbles around not accomplishing much other than hitting Carol on the head, knocking her down, and so forth. It ends with the entire cottage falling in after they toss paper cups into the unfinished fireplace.
  • Casualty: Pretty much any time anyone gets stabbed, impaled, etc., you can expect to see them screaming "Get it out, get it out!" despite the medical personnel trying to explain why this is a terrible idea — and, if they turn their backs for more than ten seconds, the patient will probably try and pull the thing out themselves. One episode had a man with a crowbar stuck through his leg, which he wrenched out himself in the hospital foyer, nicking an artery in the process. He survived, but only because, being in the hospital already, they were able to treat him in time.
  • Discussed in an episode of CSI: Miami when the friend of a stabbing victim attempted to help by pulling out the blade. It's explained to him that pulling the blade out was the absolute worst thing he could have done and that it should have been left in place until a proper medical professional could have removed it.
  • In The End of the F***ing World, Alyssa stabs her father in the leg after he betrays her for the reward money. Terri, who is a police officer, lampshades it by telling him not to pull it out — which he immediately does and screams in pain.
  • Done memorably twice in Grey's Anatomy, once with an unexploded howitzer shell in a WWII re-enactor's abdomen and again with a rapidly-melting icicle in Yang's gut.
  • Kung Fu (1972): Caine is shot in the back by an arrow that goes all the way through him. While clearly suffering from pain and shock, he breaks off the barb of the arrow and throws it away, then reaches behind his back to pull out the shaft, then turns to face his attacker. Shocked by his toughness, the attacker flees. Caine immediately passes out. His friends do show up in time to save his life.
  • Our Flag Means Death: In "The Art of Fuckery", Stede tries to do this after stabbing Ed (who asked Stede to stab him, mind you). What actually happens is a lot of screaming (Stede in fear, Ed in pain) and groaning to the point where it sounds like something entirely else, much to the horror of an eavesdropping Izzy.
  • Averted in The Punisher (2017). Frank goes to the isolated mountain hideout of an old friend. His friend shoots him in the shoulder with an arrow, not knowing it's Frank. Frank doesn't try to pull the arrow out, instead snapping off the shaft close to the point of entry in order to have more freedom of movement, since he and his buddy are about to be attacked by a Spec Ops team. Later, when his medic buddy is treating him, the medic says trying to pull the arrow out would only cause more damage. Therefore, he has to make an incision in Frank's back and push the arrow all the way through. This treatment method is not necessarily true. In an operating room with a trained team of surgeons, the arrowhead would have been painstakingly extracted back through the existing wound with as little additional tissue damage as possible. Frank's buddy, however, didn't have the time or tools to do all of that.
  • Lampshaded in RFDS (2021) when Ferret pulls the knife his idiot friend stabbed him with out of his thigh, over the objections of doctor and flight nurse Eliza and Matty. He's lucky they were there or else he would probably have bled out in minutes.
  • Averted in Saving Hope when a patient stabs Alex with a large pair of scissors. She doesn't pull them out while frantically trying to get help, and the doctors and nurses who rush to her aid don't try to either and instead focus on stabilizing her and getting her into the operating room as quickly as possible.
  • Justified in Shadow and Bone: Inej manages to solidly lodge a throwing knife in General Kirigan's chest. But because using merzost has given him a Healing Factor, he is able to pull it out and keep fighting with no issue. Even lampshaded as he yells that it will take more than that to kill him.
  • Justified in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Qpid". When Troi accidentally shoots Data with an arrow, he pulls it out, but that's because he's an android.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: This trope is a necessity when struck by a magic weapon with the fleshgrinding property. Such a weapon, if left into the wound, will continue to magically grind into the flesh for 5 rounds. Pulling it out isn't an easy task, however, requiring a difficult Strength check.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Being Made of Iron, Sanford of Madness Combat is remarkably unphased when he's caught mid-reload and stabbed in the ribs by an ATP Engineer. He simply glances down at the stab, finishes reloading his revolver, and shoots the Engineer in the face before removing the knife with hardly a moment's recognition that he's bled all over it.
  • In Underverse, Underfell Sans attempts to kill Cross by impaling him with a Ballistic Bone. Cross just laughs and pulls it out before continuing the fight, even though the bone was covered in his blood.

  • Sleepless Domain: In Chapter 19, Goops attempts to attack Anemone in her sleep by shooting a large needle through her bedroom window. A moment later, Anemone shoots out of the window in a flash of light, awake and royally pissed, and promptly pulls the needle out of her chest leaving little more than a scratch.
    "That hurt, you little brat."

    Western Animation 
  • Disenchantment:
    • In the first episode, Prince Guysbert gets his head impaled on a sword and is immediately written off as dead. However he doesn't actually die until the sword is removed eight episodes later, and his brain falls out.
    • Also in the first episode, Elfo accidentally stabs an ogre in both eyes, and the daggers remain in his sockets until season 4 when Elfo removes them only for the ogre to beg for him to put them back as they gush blood.
  • Samurai Jack: In "XCIII", Jack gets a knife stuck into his chest while fighting the Daughters of Aku. In the next episode, he spends some time with the knife still in him until he painfully pulls it out and seals the wound.
  • In Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Shikata stabs Spider-Man in the shoulder with her sword, and the webhead promptly removes it without even flinching.


Video Example(s):


Plane Crash Survivor

After surviving a plane crash, the Slayer wakes up to find they've been impaled. Luckily there's a first aid kit, but it doesn't have the equipment needed to properly treat a gaping wound.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WorstAid

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