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Wound That Will Not Heal

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"One evening Sam came into the study and found his master looking very strange. He was very pale and his eyes seemed to see things far away.
'What's the matter, Mr. Frodo?' said Sam.
'I am wounded," he answered, 'wounded; it will never really heal.'"

It's bad enough that scars tend to be permanent and sometimes painful in fiction. The really unlucky, however, get something even worse: a wound that won't heal at all, and remains open and raw long after it ought to have healed.

This usually happens for supernatural or highly symbolic reasons. Perhaps the wound was made by something powerful enough to prevent healing, or it was received as the result of treachery, cowardice, or evil potent enough to force the injured person to pay for their trespass indefinitely. Either way, normal medical care simply won't do the job. Somehow, the wound must be purified and the symbolic meaning behind the injury rectified before the sufferer stands any chance of being healed — if that's even possible. The really unfortunate can never be healed, and spend the rest of their lives in pain... and that's assuming that there is an end-point to their existence.

Compare Scars Are Forever and Achey Scars, which at least heal enough to leave a scar, even if it still hurts sometimes, and Anti-Regeneration (which interferes with Healing Factors). Contrasts Healing Factor or Healing Hands, as it stagnates if not outright stunts or reverses the effect's recovery ability, nearing it clean into Harmful Healing territory. In video games, this often takes the form of Maximum HP Reduction. Revive Kills Zombie can be related by making standard healing effects useless or worse on The Undead, though they do sometimes have their own healing abilities to compensate.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Brand of Sacrifice borne by Guts and Casca of Berserk is one of these, and bleeds when the demons draw near.
    • The wound that Slan of the Godhand inflicted on Guts is another one of these. According to Schierke, it's a physical and a spiritual wound. The cursed Berserker's armor is the only reason Guts isn't already dead.
  • In Black Clover, one villain hits Asta several times with a curse that leaves him with wounds that won't heal. Later in the fight, it occurs to Asta to cut himself on those wounds with his Anti-Magic swords, which nullifies the curses.
  • In Claymore all girls who would become half-yoma warriors were cut open by the Organization in order to implant Yoma flesh in every part of their bodies. That huge cut is the one wound their regeneration cannot heal, since their altered bodies consider that cut part of their "default" state. The Organization's work-around is to crudely stitch the wound together to keep the Claymores' guts from falling out.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, by the end of the series, during later part of the final battle against Muzan Kibutsuji, it is revealed the numerous wounds that were inflicted on him during his encounter with Yoriichi Tsugikuni, 400 years ago, still have not healed even centuries later, with the scars appearing all over his body once Tamayo's drug compromised his Healing Factor past a certain point. As such, these provide a nice weak spot for the heroes to exploit.
  • Dragon Knights: Lykouleon is injured by Nadil to continuously bleed out from an injury that won't heal until he finally dies several volumes later.
  • In the Fate/Grand Order anime First Order, Lancer, who also wields Harpe, warns Mash this is what Harpe does before fighting her.
  • Fate/Prototype:
    • The newly revived Manaka Sajyou still sports the mortal wound that Saber gave her years ago. It seems that it still bleeds.
    • Rider wields a scythe called Harpe, which inflicts wounds that cannot be healed via supernatural means. Anyone wounded by it has to wait for their body to heal naturally.
  • In Fate/Zero, the Noble Phantasm Gae Buidhe wielded by Servant Lancer inflicts wounds which cannot be healed so long as the weapon is intact. One such wound hinders Saber's use of her left hand until Lancer voluntarily sacrifices Gae Buidhe so that Saber can use Excalibur's full power to defeat the Eldritch Abomination summoned by Caster.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: According to behind the scenes notes, if Achilles was summoned as Lancer instead of Rider, his spear Diatrekhōn Astēr Lonkhē would function like Gae Buidhe and inflict wounds that do not heal.
  • In Hoshin Engi, the Yokai Sennin Youka is actually a sentient sword-like weapon, and the wounds inflicted by his blades are cursed and leave constantly-bleeding wounds. Kou Tenka ends up wounded in the abdomen and, fearing to be outlasted by King Chu, the object of his vengeance, he ends up taking the path that results in his death, even though Taikobo told him that the other surviving Sennin were studying a way to patch up his wound.
  • In Kekkaishi, wounds done by Kaguro's blades don't heal properly even if the victim has a Healing Factor. This results in the death of one of the main characters.
  • Kill la Kill: Humans merged with life fibers can only be killed by crushing out their heart, or separating their head from their body (which would only work if there's no single thread remaining, as Satsuki found out hard way), due to their Healing Factor. They can only be permanently wounded by cutting them from two directions at once with life fiber-based weapons. The giant pair of scissors were designed for this, and Bakuzan is also able to do this after it is broken and remade into two blades.
  • Medaka Box: Ihiko Shishime, a massive demonic Hero Killer who resides in the Shiranui Village, is known as the irreversible destroyer because the damage that he inflicts on the world is permanent. He ends up defeating Zenkichi, Kumagawa, Ajimu, and even Medaka this way. It doesn't matter if a character is a Determinator, reality-warper, or has super healing. Fortunately, the effect vanishes after he is defeated.
  • Dragons from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid have healing factors potent enough that a good night's sleep is usually enough to return to full strength from mortal injuries, but it's shown at a few points that it does have limits. Namely, the stab wound that Tohru recieved when she was pierced by the holy sword shortly before the start of the series is shown in chapter 116 to have formed a scar rather than properly heal (she normally keeps it hidden under a glamour).
  • In Mnemosyne, Sayara Yamanobe is severely disfigured in episode one, then turned into an immortal by the Big Bad to come back for episode three. The catch? Since she was effectively half-eaten alive when she became immortal, her wounds won't kill her and won't heal either. Naturally, she is very pissed at Rin for doing this to her.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Louise Halevy loses a hand when Nena Trinity shoots up a wedding Louise was attending. Current medical science should be able to regrow the hand, but the false GN Drive of Nena's Gundam lacks a critical filter component, making it give off toxic radiation that prevents even normal healing and results in Louise showing up in the second season with a mechanical hand and popping pills (supposedly) to deal with the toxins. When The Movie comes around, Louise is still in treatment, but it's starting to actually get better.
  • My Hero Academia: All-For-One, who has the ability to steal other people's powers, lost most of his face, including his eyes, to a blow given to him by All Might. He cannot regenerate his face even though he has stolen multiple regeneration powers because his face had already scarred over by the time he had stolen enough regeneration powers to properly heal it and so he is permanently disabled no matter how many regeneration powers he steals. At the end of the series, he applies a Deadly Upgrade by rapidly rewinding his age, and once his body is reverted to the age he was when he got the injury, the injury no longer exists.
  • Trafalgar Law in One Piece can inflict this by combining his swordsmanship and Devil Fruit's powers. It is potent enough to prevent Logia users from regenerating their form, even when their powers are active (as opposed to being neutralized by Seastone or Dark-Dark Fruit).
    • Also, The Going Merry, the Straw Hats' ship. After sustaining damage over the course of the battles the crew got in, the ship's keel (basically the ship's equivalent of a spine) was cracked. The only way to repair a ship once that happens would be to literally tear the ship apart, replace the keel, and then rebuild the ship around the new keel. Eventually, the ship just cannot hold out any more and the Straw Hats' are forced to give her a Viking Funeral, her spirit says that she has no regrets.
    • Baron Tamago ate a Devil Fruit that grants him the power to break like an egg every time he gets killed; and then regenerate back into a humanoid form (from egg-man to chick, then rooster, then egg again). However, Pedro managed to cut through Tamago's left eye, which notably doesn't heal no matter how many time he transforms.
  • Somewhere around Volume 11 or 12 of Priest, Ivan Isaacs gets stabbed in the chest by Armand. Even with an exceptional healing ability, the wound perpetually bleeds and never closes, never heals — not until volume 15, at least, due to a bit of magic.
  • In Rave Master, one of the villains carries a special weapon that can be especially deadly: wounds caused by this weapon don't heal, but actually worsen until the midnight hour comes along. Until the bell tolls midnight, any treatment of these wounds is futile, and the victim is forced to suffer as every second, the wound becomes worse and worse. Now, imagine if you were scratched by this weapon at exactly 12:01 AM.
  • In the first Rurouni Kenshin OVA, the wound Kenshin received from Tomoe's fiancee, Akira Kiyosato bleeds whenever he kills someone or is reminded of the person he killed. When The Reveal finally happens it bleeds while he reads Tomoe's diary and realizes that she was a spy all along. The injury doesn't heal until after Tomoe deals him another cut across the first, creating Kenshin's iconic cross-shaped scar.
    • In the final volume of the manga, in the epilogue chapter, Kenshin still has his scar, but it's gotten far smaller due to the happiness that Tomoe wanted him to have coming true.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, it is implied demons can cause this. Whenever Ban, who is immortal and has a Healing Factor, gets wounded by demonic power, the wound takes longer to heal and leaves scars.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Sabrac's spell Stigma causes the wounds he inflicts to worsen over time while it is active.
  • Sword Art Online: Sugou suffers this after Kirito brutally kills his in-game avatar, Oberon, after turning off his pain inhibitor note , as punishment for all the shit he had pulled (including torturing Kirito himself to almost death and molesting Asuna); as a result, he suffers phantom pain in the real world and is blind in one eye. Said pain can't be cured because there's nothing physically wrong with him.
  • The obscure Transformers Decepticon Overlord had the power to cause the wounds he inflicted to be unhealable.
  • Non-biological example. Both the Turn A and Turn X units from ∀ Gundam are equipped with powerful nanomachines that can regenerate virtually any damage, supposedly up to and including the pilot. But at some point in the past, the Turn X received an X-shaped scar on its chest from the Turn A, and its nanomachines are unable to repair it for some reason. Thousands of years later, during the current story, it still has that scar (which is the source of the name "Turn X").
  • Rip in Undead Unluck has the Negator power of "Unrepair," which means any damage he deliberately inflicts on something or someone is permanent. Injuries he inflicts will not heal and cannot be 'slowed' in any way (trying to cover an open wound to stem the bleeding, for instance results in your hands being stopped mid-way), and nonliving things he tampers with can never be fixed or restored. The only two ways to reverse it is for him to undo it himself or for him to die (which he is more than happy to mention since that makes killing him a healing technique). The first time in the series Rip uses this power is to stab Unseen with a knife and then give him two options: Agree to join Under (upon which, Rip will undo his negation) or bleed out (since Unrepair means he can't stop the bleeding in any way).
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne, Van makes some sort of bond with the eponymous Giant Mecha, increasing its responsiveness to his piloting, but after the following battle, it's revealed that any damage the armor receives is inflicted as a corresponding wound to his body, and doesn't heal until the damage is repaired. Oh yeah, he experiences that too. Now imagine how it feels to have a horrific chest wound welded shut with no anesthesia.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics' Slade Wilson/Deathstroke was given an impressive healing factor in the experiment that turned him superhuman; however, after a failed rescue mission for his son, his angry wife shot him in the eye. Despite his healing factor, he has never regenerated the eye, leaving it as a permanent mark of his failed attempt at having a family.
  • In Fables Boy Blue gets shot in the arm with a cursed arrow which also carries in a thread of the powerfully magic Witching Cloak. When Mister Dark hits the cloak (which was made from his own essence) with a powerful unbinding curse, Boy Blue sickens and dies, despite repeated efforts by the supernaturally skillful Doctor Swineheart (who eventually amputates the infected arm to remove the thread), examination by the Fables' best magic practitioners, and the Messianic Archetype healing powers of King Ambrose.
  • At one point, Marvel's Mighty Thor severely pissed off Hela, the goddess of the dead. Consequently, she cursed him to never die — and never heal. A truly horrible fate for a warrior god. The curse actually works in Thor's favor in his last fight against Jormungandr. As part of the Ragnarok Cycle, Jormungandr and Thor were destined to kill each other. Since Thor can't die Jormungandr is the only one who dies. Thor is left a total wreck afterwards.
  • In Tales of the Jedi, Ulic Qel-Droma is hit by a piece of shrapnel infused with Dark Side magic. The wound never heals over the many months encompassing his fall to the Dark Side. Even in the final battle of the Great Sith Wars, it continues to bleed.
  • For Wolverine and others with healing factors, they can receive permanent injuries by being cut by the Muramasa Blade, which cuts flesh on a molecular level. However, this probably can easily be solved by cutting away the damaged tissue and healing normally.

    Fan Works 
  • 3 Doctors, 9 Companions, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Adam Mitchell gains a kind of immortality when he unintentionally cryogenically freezes himself with his ice-related superpowers. This comes with the unfortunate side effect of losing his normal human healing abilities. He sprains his ankle a few days after this incident and is stuck with the sprain forever; not because it was a particularly bad injury, but just because his body can no longer heal itself from anything.
  • Apartment Gensokyo:
    • Kaguya hurt her foot during one even with a tricycle and, while it healed, it didn't heal perfectly, so she wears the large shoe to help her walk evenly.
    • Koishi comes home injured and her wounds never heal, instead, they continue bleeding. She later succumbs to them.
  • The Arithmancer: Anything that is sacrificed as part of ritual magic can never be recovered. So if you sacrifice a drop of your blood, your body will be forever just slightly less efficient at making new blood, if you sacrifice a year of your life, you'll age that much faster, and so on.
  • The Bloodstained Hero: Izuku's missing arm is completely unaffected by his Healing Factor or even his Resurrective Immortality, considering all that he can get back up from, the problem seems less the amount of damage but rather the fact that he received the wound from the Moon Prescence.
  • Bound Destinies Trilogy: During his confrontation with the Fierce Deity early in Blood and Spirit, Link suffers a slash across the chest that infects him with Majora's corruption. Every time Majora begins to exert his influence and corrupt him further, the wound reopens.
  • Death And Ker: Minako has a series of wounds all the way down her back from where she was pulled off the Great Seal. They alternately bleed, scab over, and bleed again throughout the story, by way of indicating Minako's status as an integral part of the Seal.
  • Fate of the Clans: Gáe Bolg's curse kills the cells it divides, causing even non-fatal wounds to be incapable of healing. While healing magecraft and a Servant's self-healing works, the curse causes even minor wounds to take days to close. The curse can be lifted either by destroying Gáe Bolg or killing Cú Chulainn. Cú Chulainn himself can also do it if he has Primordial Rune since he's familiar with the workings of his spear's curse.
  • The First Saniwa: A Revisionist lands a magic attack on Hiromasa's shoulder that has this effect. The worst part is that it also has a corruption effect that is impossible to remove without breaking the laws of nature.
  • For the Glory of Irk: Q was wounded in a fight with Zim and Voel years ago. The damage is still there in the present, interfering with his shapeshifting.
  • Freedom Dies With Me has this happen to protagonist Traveller; specifically he ends up being impaled in the stomach by Lord Brevon's blade. The blood on that blade is described as a sort of poison that hinders the body's attempts to heal. Even the Blade of Hysteria cannot heal it and it takes a Timey-Wimey Ball to actually keep it closed.
  • The Heart Trilogy: Despite being a surprisingly tough demon and the son of Morgoth himself, Fankil, the main antagonist, seems to be unable to heal his arm after it's dislocated at the end of the trilogy's second part, for it is still in a sling when we enter the third part sixty years later. Even before that, he walks with a limp as if his leg is being affected by an old wound.
  • The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13: An injury inflicted by the Originals cannot be healed by anyone, be they a mortal wizard or the strongest of gods. The effects of these permanent injuries also tend to be somewhat... varied.
    • Charon's flesh was stripped away. His skeletal body constantly emits poisonous magic that is harmful to mortals and gods alike.
    • Hadrian's body wasn't damaged, but instead he lost the ability to kill.
    • Link lost his right eye and left arm, which were replaced with look-alikes made out of dark magic. They function just as well as... well as, the originals. Notably, even after acquiring enough power to obliterate the Originals with ease, he still doesn't have the ability to restore the old limbs.
  • Nobledark Imperium: The Handmaidens, Isha's praetorian guard, wield swords named the Thorns of Isha that inflict wounds that do not heal.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • In the Origins arc, Mimic kicked out Discord's tooth, explaining why he only has one fang. For some reason, he cannot restore it, even with his Reality Warper powers.
    • Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox from Dark World sporting one of these received from Alicorn!Trixie in a previous loop, leaving a severe burn on her face that she covers with a White Mask of Doom. Notably, the character is a Time Master who can rewind time to undo any injury she sustains but can't undo this one. When Twilight absorbs her and other versions over herself to become a goddess, the wound appears on her face, and she notes that even as the personification of magic herself, she can't heal it. She is surprised when Trixie forgives her for Eclipse's crimes and then casually heals it.
  • Of Quirks and Magic: Dr. Strange is shot with a bullet that spreads an infectious curse throughout his body that prevents healing and will eventually kill him. Wong has to place him in a stasis spell before rushing off the find the relic the assailant stole to remove said curse.
  • A RWBY Zanpakuto: Aizen's Bankai inflicts these injuries. Only Reality Warper powers like Orihime or the Hogyoku can heal them, healing kido and healing factors are ineffective.
  • Tangled In Time: While Ganondorf survives his execution by Master Sword from Twilight Princess, his wound is made even worse as now he's in constant pain and constantly has to take blue potions to ease it. In a Call-Back to the example below, Ganondorf manages to keep the Master Sword.
  • Vow of Nudity: A mummy ambush infects Rhataq with 'rot,' a curse whereby she can't regain hitpoints and her wound remains perpetually necrotic.
  • The Weaver Option:
    • Taylor uses a phase dagger to repeatedly stab the face of the Daemon Prince possessing Fulgrim's body. While the wounds are healed after the daemon returns to the Warp, they leave scars it can't remove which all but sever its connection to the Emperor's Children.
    • Taylor blasts the Necron Phaeron Djosakhat with a blast of Anathema power. The resulting wound causes his necrodermis body to decay while experiencing ever-increasing pain, a sensation that the Necron haven't known for millions of years. Even transferring to a new body is only a temporary reprieve as the wound will soon manifest on the new body.
  • Stop The World: Lauren develops a permanent scar from the being on the receiving end of a Shoot the Hostage situation in the previous story. That it won't heal despite her Healing Factor is a cause for concern. Lauren muses that it still hasn't fully healed, and later when she gets angry, begins to hurt and bleed. This may be because she's possessed by the Garuda, and it got in there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), the Bandersnatch slashes Alice's arm with its poisonous claws, and Chessur the Cheshire Cat warns her that her wounds won't close on their own, and that the poison will eventually kill anyone scratched by it. Chessur offers to heal them with his evaporating skills, but Alice still thinks it's all a dream, so he simply binds her wounds instead. The Bandersnatch's saliva is the only other thing that can heal her wounds.
  • In Beetlejuice: Those working in the Netherworld's bureaucracy retain the fatal wounds they had right when they died. One of the receptionists still has her slit wrists and Juno still has her throat cut by her tracheostomy.
  • In Death Becomes Her, when the two women drink the immortality potion, they find every wound is like this. The women cannot die, but their bodies can be severely damaged. This only becomes apparent after they both suffer injuries that would have normally killed them, like a broken neck or having a hole blown through their stomach with a shotgun. They are both for all intents and purposes zombies. Their souls are bound to their bodies forever, but since their bodies are clinically dead they no longer have the ability to heal. Whoops.
  • In Drive Angry, the Godkiller is a gun that causes anything it kills to suffer Cessation of Existence. When The Accountant, the demon bounty hunter sent to bring the protagonist back to Hell, has his cheek grazed by one of its bullets, he keeps the injury for the rest of the film, while demons and the undead usually heal from any injury.
  • Lancelot suffers this fate in Excalibur. (It may be a metaphorical wound, though. He sustained it while wracked with guilt about sleeping with Guinevere, and it was done by Excalibur which couldn't have been in his physical possession at the time.)
  • Hawk the Slayer. Voltan is serving his dark master partially because he's the only one who can offer him temporary relief from the pain of his facial injury. A nun he has kidnapped offers to use her healing arts, but Voltan rejects this because his master has told him there is no permanent cure. It's implied that it's Voltan's evil that's preventing him from healing, as the cause of injury itself was not magical.
  • In Left Bank, Marie's knee injury not only fails to heal but progressively festers throughout the film.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:

  • In An Outcast in Another World, Rob’s encounter with The Blight leaves him with a permanent reduction to his max health. It’s not a large reduction, and on the surface isn’t a major issue, but the fact that the effect is called ‘Corruption’ worries him, and no one has any idea of how to reverse the effect.
  • David Eddings' The Belgariad: Torak has half his face burnt away when he steals the Orb. Being a God and therefore never intended by the universe to be physically harmed, his body has no natural capability of healing, so he suffers for thousands of years.
  • In Douglas Hill's Blade Of The Poisoner, Kid Hero Jarral is cut by the Tainted Blade. Not only does the wound—in the shape of the villain's monogram, no less—refuse to heal (and hurts like hell in the bargain), but it leaves him with a month to live unless he manages to destroy the sword in question before his time is up. With the help of his friends, he manages, with moments to spare.
  • The secondary power of the Mindsword in Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords and Lost Swords series is that any wound it inflicts, no matter how slight, is poisoned and will not heal naturally, and will, indeed, be fatal. The only power known to be able to counteract this is Woundhealer.
  • From Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion or "Five Gods" series, Paladin of Souls features a wound that not only will not heal but occasionally jumps from one person's body to another. Magic spells and zombies are involved. The Hallowed Hunt (a distant prequel from the same fictional universe) also features an uncanny wound that won't quite heal, on the protagonist's hand.
  • The Cosmere:
    • The Stormlight Archive:
      • This is one of the creepier properties of Shardblades. Shardblades don't cut living flesh, they sever the soul itself. Which means that if one passes through a limb or other non-vital extremity, all the nerves below the cut die, and you can't feel or move that limb ever again. In Words of Radiance, Kaladin's arm is cut in such a way, and he is surprised to find that he is able to heal it with a large amount of Stormlight.
      • Despite this capability, however, Kaladin still has a Slave Brand on his forehead (and efforts made to tattoo it into reading "freedman" heal themselves away before they can take). Not because it's magical, mind you - because Kaladin has never stopped seeing himself as a slave. It finally heals in Rhythm of War when he swears his Fourth Ideal, and accepts that it is okay that he cannot save everyone. By accepting this, he manages to let go of his self-loathing and Survivor Guilt.
      • In Rhythm of War, Vyre is blinded by defense systems of the reactivated tower of Urithiru, which also cut off his connection to Odium and forces him to feel the pain and guilt of his own actions. The blinding is so severe that once he manages to get out of the area of effect, he cannot heal his vision with Stormlight anymore.
    • There are cases where magical healing doesn't heal every ailment a person has — e.g. a bald person retaining his baldness even after being taken by the Shaod (which when working correctly turns someone into an idealized, sparkly god), a eunuch retaining his lack of equipment after tapping a gold metalmind (which normally grants a short-lived Healing Factor, at the cost of long periods of sickliness later, to charge it back up). In these cases, it has to do with how they look in the Cognitive Realm, which relies heavily on self-image.
    • Elantris: Due to a catastrophe that occurred ten years before the start of the novel, the Elantrians do not heal from their wounds, at all. And they're all nigh-immortal save for beheading or burning. Consequently, the city of Elantris is full of piles of undying Elantrians who are too pained or injured to move, but are still alive. Fortunately the problem gets fixed at the end of the novel.
  • In Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion, Paks is captured and wounded by dark elves, orcs and their accomplices. The wounds do not heal, and it is eventually revealed that bits of the cursed weapon are still in the wounds.
  • In Dracula, the wound to the forehead that Harker gives the count early in the novel never heals. Whether this is because Dracula, being already dead, cannot heal wounds, or simply because not enough time passes, or something else, is never made clear.
  • In the Dragonlance novels, Raistlin punished his apprentice Dalamar the Dark for spying on him by digging his fingers into Dalamar's chest, leaving five permanently seeping wounds.
  • The Unforgiving Blade from Dragonwatch. Not only do injuries inflicted by the Blade never heal, but anything damaged by the Blade can never be repaired. Shortly after acquiring the Blade, Seth uses it to cut through an enemy sorceress's shield spell, causing her to lose the ability to cast that spell. And since Seth used the Unforgiving Blade to cut the strings of the Harp of Ages, it will never be able to be restrung.
  • Downplayed in Dr. Franklin's Island. Semi bashes her knee in the plane crash that strands her and a couple other teens. They try to treat it with what medical supplies wash ashore and sometimes it seems okay but it tends to give her trouble off and on, sometimes oozing pus, for her entire time on the beach. When a Mad Scientist captures her it gets treated properly and heals in time to start some Transformation Horror instead.
  • Eddie LaCrosse: In Burn Me Deadly, those who believe in dragons say that burns from their fire never heal and never stop hurting, no matter how much time passes. They're right. In fact, just touching an egg is sufficient, as one character who must now permanently wear gloves could attest.
  • In The Faerie Queene, any wound the Blatant Beast inflicts will not heal unless its victim learns to master themselves and their speech.
  • Fate/Zero has Servant Lancer's Gae Buidhe, which will create a wound that cannot heal on the target. This afflicts Saber early on and becomes her Drama-Preserving Handicap until Volume 3 of the novel. Even then, after the curse gets lifted, Saber insists on fighting only with her right hand during her rematch against Lancer.
  • Forgotten Realms Towards the end of the Time of Troubles trilogy, Midnight is wounded by Cyric's blood-drinking sword. When the two of them are elevated to godhood, her wound never goes away, and is sometimes used as an oath: "Mystra's Wound!"
  • Harry Potter:
    • Bill Weasley's wounds from an untransformed Fenrir Greyback are hinted to be this, as are other werewolf-inflicted wounds.
    • Mr. Weasley's snakebite from Nagini. It did heal eventually, but the magical abilities of Nagini kept that "eventually" going: no magical or non-magical healing could stop the bleeding. It ate right through the stitches!
    • Normally, it is possible (with quick action) to reattach and heal limbs separated due to magic gone wrong (for example, if it gets splinched), but if one loses a part of the body to a Dark Art, such as the curse Sectumsempra, it is impossible to reattach the lost part, at least through magical means (that's what happens to George Weasley's ear).
  • In His Dark Materials, Will's wound from his own Absurdly Sharp Blade doesn't heal throughout the entirety of The Subtle Knife until Jopari fixes it at the end of the book. It just keeps opening up again.
  • In The Hollows series, demon wounds don't heal if the victim owes the demon but hasn't accepted a mark for repayment.
  • In The Hunger Games, President Snow always wears a rose with an incredibly strong aroma which still won't disguise the smell of blood on his breath if he's close enough. Later on, this is explained by some of the rumors that Fennick heard in the capital: to keep himself in absolute power, Snow would usually poison the drinks of anyone he feared could turn against him, but to avoid suspicion, he'd also drink the same drinks and apply an antidote in secrecy. However, all the exposure to that poison had left him with sores that never healed inside his mouth. This may have been what caused his death at the end of the story during his execution, as he started laughing and coughed up so much blood he drowned if he wasn't killed by being trampled by the crowd.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, nanotech-infused swords called unblades inflict wounds that can never heal. At the beginning of the series, Ariane uses an unblade to cut off Perceval's wings.
  • Journey to Chaos: Greater Mage Haburt Kloac has chronic health issues because Sathel Aranid inflicted them via poison in retribution for him kidnapping her daughter. Neither magic nor medicine can cure him.
  • A justified non-magical example in The Knights of the Cross. Macko gets ambushed and shot with a crossbow bolt. A broken piece of the tip gets stuck under his rib and causes the wound to fester, nearly costing him his life before the heroes finally manage to remove it.
  • In The Last Unicorn, it's mentioned in passing that the unicorn healed a king "whose poisoned wound would not close." Her horn is proof against death itself, as she later has reason to demonstrate.
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, when any of the Venerate are struck with the namesake sword Licanius they permanently lose their powers of immortality.
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen the Crippled god was called from the heavens by a cabal of mages and was injured badly upon impact with the world. Since the local Gods and Ascendants try to keep him subdued, none of these wounds have ever healed during the eons he has been trapped there. None of the injuries from the Fall have healed. Not one in a hundred thousand years.
  • Robin McKinley:
    • Early in Chalice, Mirasol receives an accidental burn on the back of her hand from her land's new Master, a priest of Elemental Fire. The burn does not heal, and can't even be soothed by the usual remedies until the Master uses his power over Fire to heal it. Mirasol argues that the failure to heal is a natural result of the burn being in such a thin-skinned and awkward place, but the Master is of the opinion that it's something more uncanny in accordance with this trope.
    • Sunshine: The title character is given a cut on her chest by a vampire. While the other injuries she takes during the experience heal normally, the cut lingers for months, scabbing over and then cracking and bleeding again; it's later stated that the wound is supernaturally poisoned and that the only thing that has kept it from killing her is the time she has spent exposing it to direct sunlight, with which she has a magical affinity and which is anathema to vampiric magic. It doesn't heal until another vampire helps her purge the taint.
  • In the Mediochre Q Seth Series, any wound caused by a Blood Iron weapon will not heal. This makes them the perfect weapons for use against dragons. Mediochre, who is functionally immortal and heals automatically from any normal wound due to his dragon's blood, gets slashed on the arm by a Blood Iron sword at the end of the first book. He's slightly ticked off at the prospect of having to stitch the wound up again every time the stitches decompose.
  • In The Medusa Amulet by Robert Masello, the titular amulet makes anyone immortal if they look at their reflection and the reflection of the full moon at the same time, but they are left completely frozen in the state they were in when they see themselves. Artist Benvenuto Cellini, who created the amulet and was the first beneficiary of its power, is noted as still suffering crippling damage to his legs after he jumped out a window to escape a Nazi raid in the Second World War, and other users of the amulet's power- Marie Antoinette and Adolf Hitler- are depicted as actually still retaining consciousness even after being completely decapitated until their heads are explicitly destroyed.
  • Pact:
    • The Hyena, a powerful goblin, inflicts injuries like this as a matter of course. It mauls its victims in body and soul, and once it's done so it can use the injury to drive them to madness and exert control, turning it into The Minion Master. Death itself will not ease the pain; the victim's soul and ghost will linger, still maimed, as the Hyena makes use of them to hunt.
    • A standard trait of demons. Anything a demon breaks or destroys stays that way, and there is nothing that can be done to mend it, even through magic. The main character, Blake, eventually learns that he and Rose were once one person, split apart by a demon. When he later possesses Rose, he perceives there being a tear through their beings, and trying to bridge that gap in any way (such as a Split-Personality Merge) just causes more harm and damage to them both.
  • In Ian Watson's novel Queenmagic Kingmagic, injuries inflicted by magic can only be healed by personally killing the magician who injured you. If someone else happens to kill them first, you're stuck with a permanently unhealed injury for the rest of your life. This can be very nasty if it's something like a broken arm or fractured skull.
  • In Sandman Slim, Lucifer (yes, that one) has one of these from when God booted him out of Heaven. It eventually drives him to leave hell when Mason tries to take over.
    Lucifer: Father showed me the door with a faceful of fire.
  • Donna Jo Napoli's Sirena is based partially on the legend of Philoctetes (see below): Sirena tries to take care of Philoctetes' wound, but every day it requires special care, and it never gets better (in a variance from the source material, the reason that the crew abandoned Philoctetes on the island was that he was bitten by a snake sent by Hera, and they didn't want to be harboring a man who had angered the Queen of the Gods).
  • The Shadow is a Weird West series from Lila Bowen, in that setting supernatural creatures have no problems with flesh wounds which close up. But wounds that go deeper than the bone don't heal, so an amputated limb leaves a perpetually raw wound where even a normal human will eventually scab over. That's what made a young were-dragon healer so special, she can control her Breath Weapon to cause amputation wounds on a supernatural creature to close up or to even re-attach limbs.
  • Downplayed in The Skin Trade by George R. R. Martin, the wealthy Jonathan Harmon is a lycanthrope of the purest strain, so he's especially potent. 20 years ago, the police detective father of P.I. Randi Wade was investigating a series of murders which Jonathan wanted to stop. So Jonathan personally attacked Officer Wade in wolf form, who shot him with 6 silver bullets. Jonathan survived but the wounds would leave him wheelchair-bound and aching from his "old war wounds" while in human form, but Jonathan once implied that when he's in wolf form he's unimpaired.
  • In the Skulduggery Pleasant series, wounds inflicted by Billy-Ray Sanguine's razor do not heal. Weirdly, Sanguine apparently still risks using the razor to shave.
  • After being bitten, nearly drained of blood and poisoned by "space vampire" Minty Mazata in the third Spaceforce (2012) book, Jay finds that the puncture wounds show no signs of healing after four days.
  • In The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis, Ransom receives a bite on his heel from the Un-Man, which never fully heals afterwards. (Shortly thereafter, he receives a bequest that requires him to change his last name to Fisher-King.)
  • Spellster: Blades made from infitialis metal cannot be magically healed, since it blocks magic. Even minor wounds inflicted with them will continue bleeding until the person expires.
  • In Symphony of Ages, Ashe received one of these from the F'dor when it nearly killed him and stole part of his soul. He endured it for years until healed by divine magic, and even then he wasn't truly whole until his soul was also healed.
  • In There Is No Antimemetics Division, The human avatar of SCP-3125 is shot twice in the chest. The wounds continue to bleed, even over a year later, but they also never kill him.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth:
    • In the first The Lord of the Rings book, Frodo was stabbed in the shoulder with a Morgul-blade by the Witch-King. A fragment of the blade burrowed towards his heart, but it was removed and his life saved. Despite this, even after the fall of Sauron and all his minions the wound never fully heals. Frodo is in fact ill every year, both on the anniversary of being stabbed by the Witch-King and being stung by Shelob.
    • From The Silmarillion,
      • Unhealing wounds that never stop hurting are what the silmarils inflicted on anyone who touched them without being worthy (i.e., pure of heart and innocent of wicked deeds). That didn't stop less-than-innocent characters from stealing and even swallowing them.
      • Melkor loses the ability to heal wounds after he becomes a full-fledged God of Evil. Handling the Silmarils scorched his hands; Fingolfin dealt him seven wounds during their duel, capped by a dying stab to the foot which leaves him lame; and in the process of rescuing Fingolfin's corpse from defilement, Thorondor, King of Eagles, gives Morgoth a face-full of talons. Each wound is noted to cause him undiminished pain forever after.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Xhea's dark magic negates both healing magic and her body's natural healing. As a result, the knee injury she sustains in Radiant does not heal, and grows progressively worse in Defiant.
  • False Gods: In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 book, Horus is dealt a blow with the Anathame, a sword that is made to kill whoever is named to it when it hits them. A lesser man would have died, but being a Primarch Horus is instead dealt a wound that refuses to heal, knocking him into a coma. He gets healed, the galaxy wishes he didn't.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand has an unhealable and highly plot-significant wound in his side, the result of two separate blows across the same area by two different forces of evil.
  • In Wicked Lovely, the scar on Niall's face, given to him by the leader of the hounds, looks as though he only just received it when he isn't wearing a glamour. It is unknown whether his other scars have the same effect. It's probably symbolic; Niall's even more scarred on the inside.
  • The Witchlands:
    • Cursewitched wounds will not only not heal, but poison the rest of the body, unless you can find a Firewitch to cleanse them, which is why Iseult is out of action for a large chunk of the first book.
    • In Bloodwitch, Aeduan (who normally has a powerful Healing Factor) suffers these as a result of Cursewitched arrow wounds, which results in him briefly losing his powers and nearly dying before getting healed by an Origin Well.
  • Butcher IV (and thus all subsequent Butchers) from Worm had the power to inflict wounds that refuse to heal.
    • As did Ravager (and thus Murder Rat).

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Hellfire that Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider controls in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is impossible to heal from, as it burns the soul in addition to the body. After a Neo-Nazi is burned in the chest from it, despite medical treatment he still bleeds out the next day. This comes to the forefront in the Season 4 finale in that Hellfire is literally the only thing that can kill the Big Bad Aida, as she possesses insane regenerative abilities. Thus the final confrontation isn't so much about fighting as it is about getting the Spirit of Vengeance close enough to her without her running away in terror immediately.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Felix Gaeta is forced to have his leg amputated after being shot and not getting medical help in time. The stump never properly heals right, not helped by a prosthetic that doesn't fit and the phantom pains that come with a lost limb. The wound subtly begins to fester later on and may contribute to his subsequent Sanity Slippage.
  • Highlander: The Series: Similar to the above-mentioned example from the original film, during a fight with another Immortal, whose great talent was his singing voice, Duncan grabbed a shard of glass and slices his throat. Decades later, Kalas is still unable to sing, furthering his hatred of Duncan.
  • House of the Dragon: King Viserys has a wound on his back from sitting on the Iron Throne that refuses to get better no matter how much the maesters treat it. Eventually he agrees to have it cauterized in hopes that will have an effect. It doesn't, and in the end it might have degenerated into the necrosis that afflicts him the following 15 years or so and kills him (Grand Maester Orwyle at least delayed the effects better than Mellos did).
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, Nate Haywood has hemophilia, which means his blood doesn't clot normally, and any wound can potentially kill him. After being injected with a Super Serum, he develops powers, and his hemophilia is cured.
  • In The Librarians 2014, any wound inflicted by the Excalibur can only be healed by magic. Otherwise, it will continue to bleed, until the person is dead.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Dominion uses energy weapons that have anticoagulant effects, disrupting the natural healing process and typically requiring advanced treatment — even by 24th Century standards — to prevent death from blood loss.
  • Torchwood: After dying and being resurrected, Owen discovers that (because he is essentially a walking corpse and thus his cells do not regenerate) his body will not heal from any wounds he receives.
  • In Ultraviolet (1998), if a "Code V" survives sunlight exposure, the burns will never heal.

  • The song "Witch of the Westmereland" by Archie Fisher, later covered by Stan Rogers:
    Pale was the wounded Knight
    That bore the rowan shield
    Loud and cruel were the ravens' cries
    As they feasted on the field

    Saying beck water cold and clear
    Will never clean your wound
    There's none but the witch of the Westmereland
    Can make thee hale and sound
  • Kid Crusher also mentions this trope in "I'm Not Alone".
    KC: "Sundown! I'm here! I'm so pissed cause my wounds won't heal!"
  • Linkin Park is infamous for their mention of this trope. The song "Crawling" is about drug addiction and how it has affected the body (complete with feelings of something moving beneath the skin), but Memetic Mutation has made the song known as an anthem of whiny Emo Teen edgelords everywhere.note 
  • Rush uses this word-for-word in their song "Red Sector A."
    I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed
    A heart that cannot feel, a wound that will not heal
    Hoping that the horror will recede
    Hoping that tomorrow, we'll all be freed
  • Evanescence also makes mention of this in My Immortal:
    These wounds won't seem to heal
    This pain is just too real
    There's just too much that time cannot erase.
  • "Some of these wounds will always bleed" in Kamelot's "This Pain."
  • Sarah McLachlan in "Fallen":
    But we carry on our backs the burden
    Time always reveals
    In the lonely light of morning
    In the wound that would not heal
    It's the bitter taste of losing everything
    That I've held so dear.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, this happened to a few unfortunates:
    • The immortal centaur Chiron was accidentally shot by one of Heracles' deadly arrows, which happened to be covered in Hydra blood. The venom kept the wound from ever healing, and caused such excruciating pain that Chiron willingly gave up his immortality and died to be rid of it.
    • Another victim was Philoctetes, who was either bitten by a serpent or accidentally scratched by one of these Hydra-arrows before the siege of Troy. Philoctetes was not caused pain by the scratch, but the never healing wound stank like a mountain of corpses, which was unbearable during a prolonged siege, as there was no way to escape it. Philoctetes was exiled to an island, taking the quiver of Hydra venom-tipped arrows with him (they were his property, having been a gift from Hercules), and when the gods tell the Greeks that the only way the war can be won is with his bow, the Greeks end up having to swallow their pride and beg Philoctetes to return. In some versions, the wound is eventually healed by the son of Asclepius.
    • En route to Troy, Achilles wounded Telephus. It would not heal, and Telephus learned from an oracle that it had to be healed by the one who inflicted them. Achilles refused because he has no ability to heal. Fortunately, Odysseus deduces that scraping off pieces of a spear onto the wound will do it because it was spear-inflicted.
  • In The Gospels the Resurrection healed all of Jesus's other wounds, but not the ones inflicted by the Crucifixion on his wrists, ankles, side, and head, which is why Thomas was able to place his finger inside them.
  • Most stigmata, which are supposed to be copies of the Crucifixion wounds (hands, wrists, feet, side piercing done with The Lance of Longinus, sometimes forehead if we consider the wounds coming from the thorned crown, etc.), are like this, as are any wounds that a saint wears as a mark of holiness. Said wounds are supposed to never heal, never putrify or be infected, and in some stigmata cases exude the pleasant "Odour of Sanctity". The stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi is the first example of Catholic stigmata documented.
  • Arthurian Legend:
    • Usually, the Fisher King (or a similar character) has wounds that won't heal except through divine intervention, tied to the fulfillment of a certain condition. For example, in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival the eponymous knight meets Anfortas, the King of the Grail, now nicknamed the Fisher King, who suffers from a never healing wound in his genital area, due to him being unfaithful. The wound would be healed and Anfortas released from his duty as King (since he had become unworthy) if a visitor would simply have enough compassion to ask what his suffering is. Parzifal doesn't get it first. On his second visit he is wiser, asks and becomes the new King of The Grail. In Arthurian scholarship, this kind of wound is also referred to as the Dolorous Stroke. — Some interpretations, however, explain the cause of the Fisher King's suffering as crippling or disfiguring scars rather than permanently open wounds.
    • In some variants of Tristan and Iseult, he killed her uncle and received a cursed wound, such that he had to go to Ireland to have it healed. In other variants of Sir Galahad, a wounded knight is brought to Camelot and the knights learn that he's under a curse: only when the best knight in the world searches his wound will he recover. This proves to be Galahad.
    • In Malory's Le Morte D Arthur, the knight Sir Urry is brought to Camelot after Galahad's ascension upon laying hands on the Holy Grail. In this version, he's cured by Lancelot, who — while not perfect as Galahad was — is nonetheless at the time the best knight in the world. Yet more variants of Sir Gareth and Lady Lyonesse, they try to anticipate their wedding vows; Lady Lynette keeps them on the straight and narrow by using a magical knight to wound Gareth. Repeatedly. Finally, she has him inflict a wound that will not heal and cures it herself just before the wedding.
  • In Celtic Mythology, there is Fragarach, forged by the gods and wielded by Lugh, Cúchulainn and Conn of the Hundred Battles, had a number of properties that marked it as a Cool Sword, including the ability to inflict these.
  • In Norse Mythology, there is Dáinsleif, king Högni's sword, which was said to inflict these, among other things.
  • Hindu Mythology gives us Ashwathama, a Brahmin warrior who was initially born as an immortal with a gem embedded in his forehead. He has that gem cut out of his forehead and is cursed to have that wound bleed, putrefy and inflict pain on him for eternity. He is also cursed to perpetually grovel at any and all passers by, begging for sympathy but never receiving any. Before you start composing your hurt-comfort fics, know that he deserves all of this punishment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Deadlands, when a person comes back from the dead as a Harrowed, the wound that killed them never heals completely, which is a problem if the killing wound was something readily visible. Usually, though, such "death scars" are exactly that — a Harrowed who was shot through the heart might have a round bullet-hole scar over their heart, whilst one who was hung will usually sport permanent rope burn-type scarring around their neck.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Hit Point loss from "Cursed Wounds" can't be recovered until a Remove Curse spell is cast. Clay Golems, the Sword of Wounding, and the "Cursed Blade" spell can all inflict this kind of damage.
    • The Epic Level Handbook's Lavawight and Shape of Fire take it a step further with their blazefire ability, which causes damage that cannot be recovered, period.
    • Some Black Magic and exceptionally evil creatures can inflict "Vile damage", which can only be healed by magic cast on Holy Ground. Fluff text describes it as violating the soul as well as the body.
    • Asmodeus (allegedly) has the wounds he got when he was cast down from the Higher Planes and smashed through all nine layers of Baator. Every drop of blood he sheds becomes a greater devil, but that's small consolation for the millennia he's spent in agony.
    • Forgotten Realms has the "Wounded God", Ilmater, who bears these due to being the God of Martyrdom and Compassionate Suffering.
    • The 3.5 Edition prestige class Platinum Knight of Bahamut had an ability that let it deal extra damage to evil dragons. Half of this bonus damage is, in fact, a permanent reduction of the dragon's maximum hitpoints that can't be healed by anything.
    • 4th edition D&D introduced Torog, who bears these as a part of being a Disabled Deity; they help highlight his nature as the God of Torture.
  • Exalted:
    • Various Charms can do this, the majority of them belonging to the Abyssals.
    • In 3rd Edition, the Solar known as the Bull of the North has been grievously wounded in his campaign against the Realm, suffering a weeping wound that refuses to heal with any method of sorcery or medicine yet applied to it. He is dying, but slowly, and needs to find a solution fast before his Icewalker empire crumbles.
  • GURPS has the Wounding disadvantage, where one has a wound that physically cannot heal.
  • Legend System: The [Battered] condition (associated primarily with the attacks of the Smiting and Swashbuckler tracks) functions as a short-lasting version of this, making the target unable to regain Hit Points for one or more rounds. Given how powerful healing can be, this is often long enough.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • -1/-1 counters. At the end of every turn, normal damage heals. These stay and keep the victim weaker until they get removed (not normally available). This can even kill those who are Nigh-Invulnerable (the Indestructible keyword).
    • Stigma Lasher prevents players hit by it from gaining life for the rest of the game.
    • The Bloodletter (from the Alternate Reality Game "The Cursed Blade") is a sword that, when it slices a person's flesh, causes eternal bleeding, even after death.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Vampires can heal even the worst wounds if they have enough blood, but those with the Flaw called "Permanent Wound" had an injury when they were first turned and it didn't heal right, so now every night they awaken to find that exact same wound. Even if they immediately heal it, it will just reopen and be there the next night.
  • Vampire: The Requiem has the Eupraxus bloodline of the Daeva clan. Each bloodline has a specialized curse, and for the Eupraxus, it's that the bites they inflict — which can usually be sealed up by a lick with other vampires — will only heal naturally, which means their meals are usually left bleeding out while in a state of ecstasy unless first aid is applied. It also means that those who are Embraced into the bloodline usually has a bite mark that will never heal, which most members cover up with a scarf, bandage, or another accessory.
  • Warhammer:
    • Malekith, Witch King of the Dark Elves, attempted to prove his legitimacy to the Phoenix Throne by stepping into the Flames of Asuryan. Unfortunately for him, the Flames deemed him unworthy and roasted him, and even with his magical armor keeping him alive the burns are still agonizingly fresh after centuries.
    • Throt the Unclean is a Skaven Mad Scientist who has experimented himself extensively, gaining a Healing Factor through his Bio-Augmentation that can repair almost anything... except the gouged-out eye that he lost before he mutated himself. The fact he has a chunk of Warpstone hammered into the empty socket probably doesn't help, though.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Kaela Mensha Khaine. It's not that surprising that a deity of war, murder, traitors and assassins has the epithet "The Bloody-Handed God", but it is kind-of surprising to learn that in some versions of his legend, said god's eternally blood-dripping left hand is constantly dripping with his own blood, as he was cursed for murdering a particular (space) elven hero. (Admittedly, in other versions, it is constantly dripping in the dead hero's blood.)
    • The body of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, is kept in a stasis field on their homeworld of Macragge, his mortal wound still visible. Occasionally an excitable pilgrim will swear that the wound is healing, but the Ultramarines dismiss these claims, since, well, stasis field. Subverted as of Gathering Storm, where they put the new Armor of Fate which is heavily implied to possess advanced life support systems (and a healthy dose of Eldar magic), and Guilliman is alive once more.
      • The pilgrim will usually claim that the healing through the stasis field is due to the power of the God-Emperor trying to heal his fallen son. It says something about the Imperium that some Ultramarines concede that this is a valid argument. It further says something about the setting that a number of fans consider this a valid argument.
    • Anyone lucky enough to escape the Dark Eldar city of Commorragh and the horrific tortures that the Dark Eldar perform on their captives, will still feel the physical pain from their tortures for several years afterwards. No wonder being captured by the Dark Eldar is considered a Fate Worse than Death.
    • Lucius was once the best-looking of the Emperor's Children, an entire Chapter of Pretty Boy Space Marines. His nose was broken in a fight and didn't heal properly despite the Apothecaries' best efforts, so when his Chapter fell to Chaos, he jumped off the slope and started scarring himself.
    • Ancient Rylanor, a holdout Loyalist Emperor's Children Dreadnought, gave one of these to Daemon Prince Fulgrim in the story "The Ancient Awaits", luring Fulgrim in with a broadcast signal, resisting Fulgrim's tempting him with Chaos Ascension and detonating a Virus Bomb in his face in defiance. While the Virus Bomb itself didn't kill him, Rylanor's complete and utter rejection of his Primarch dealt a crushing blow to Fulgrim's pride and since he's a Daemon Prince this manifested in him walking away with wounds that haven't healed since.
    • The Tyranid known as "Old One-Eye" was shot in the eye the first time it manifested. It has appeared time and again, but for some reason it always manifests with a gaping, empty eye socket and a patch of burned flesh. Accounts of the creature state that only landing a shot on this same wound is enough to put it down.
  • The World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness in general have Aggravated damage, usually fire, acid, radiation and supernatural sources, which cannot be regenerated by vampires' or werewolves' Healing Factors.
  • World Tree (RPG): Chursash — bear-like venomous creatures — have a rather nasty variant of this, in that five gashes open on each of their cheeks at adulthood and remain there, dripping blood, for the rest of their lives. This serves to render them constantly angry and aggressive, and thus a constant challenge for primes to deal with. Their one saving grace in this is that, being simple animals, they're not intelligent enough to truly comprehend or bemoan their fate.

  • Fucking A: The main character of the Suzan-Lori Parks play is an "abortionist". The letter A is burned into her body, and the scar occasionally "weeps".
  • In Richard Wagner's Parsifal, the wound in Amfortas's side can only be healed by the same Holy Spear that inflicted it.

    Video Games 
  • In Akatsuki Blitzkampf this eventually becomes quiiiiite the problem for the playable Elektrosoldat, whose injuries cannot properly heal because he's a clone of the local Smug Snake and his genes/cells are failing...
  • In Baldur's Gate III, Token Evil Teammate Shadowheart is cursed with this by her God of Evil Shar, with the "Mysterious Sharran Wound" on her hand only hurting her when she does things that displeases Shar (like good deeds). Shar only cures her of it if she performs a Targeted Human Sacrifice of her own parents, otherwise she'll be forced to live with the pain for the rest of her life. The purpose for all this? To remind her who owns her.
  • Batman: Arkham Series: Near the end of Arkham City, Ra's al Ghul, in an attempt to finish off Batman while the two are free-falling from Wonder Tower, runs himself through with his own sword when Batman grabs him and is on his back, only for Batman to evade it at the last second. When Ra's returns in the Season of Infamy DLC for Arkham Knight, he's finally used the Lazarus Pit one time too many, and it shows; the gaping wound in his abdomen from the impalement has not closed, exposing his entrails and revealing green Volcanic Veins.
  • Blasphemous tells us the story of a young village girl named Áurea was so incredibly beautiful that people began to worship her as an incarnation of divinity. In order to stop their idolatry, Áurea burned her face with hot oil and took up the vows of a local convent. However, the wounds she inflicted on herself never healed at all, remaining fresh, smoking, and agonizingly painful for years after she received them. Naturally, given their Martyrdom Culture, the people of Cvstodia viewed this as a blessing from the Miracle, leading to Áurea's canonization in life as Our Lady of the Charred Visage.
  • BlazBlue: On the Story side of Gameplay and Story Segregation, Hakumen's sword seems to inflict these, at least on Ragna. After all, his sword is designed to cut the Black Beast.
    • Taken even further later on. Because of Ragna's artificial right arm, wounds inflicted by magic or Nox Nycorteses (Like Hakumen's blade) will never fully heal, and even time travel won't get rid of them.
  • At the end of the original Castlevania, Dracula inflicts wounds that will never heal, just before he is defeated. Cue Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, with Simon resummoning Dracula and beating the crap out of him to break the curse.
    • According to Eric's ghost in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, these eventually did in Jonathan's father. The Morris family can only use Vampire Killer by having the Lecarde family perform a ritual for them, but it turns the whip into an Artifact of Death; Eric notes that they only realized this after the older Morris's wounds stopped healing.
  • Cult of the Lamb: The four Bishops of the Old Faith were each wounded when they imprisoned the One Who Waits: Leshy's eyes, Kallimar's ears, Heket's throat, and Shamura's skull. Seemingly centuries later, their wounds are still bound with bloody bandages. If you defeat them a second time in the post-game, you can recruit them as followers, and even still their wounds do not go away and actually become worse due to them losing their powers.
  • Dawn of War Winter Assault: Lord Crull invokes the Bloodthirster "By the Wyrm Eye that bleeds in all the dark places. By the wound that never heals!"
  • Butcher's cleaver in Diablo is said to inflict wounds that can't be healed because of infection — but you can in fact heal them as much as you like.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: A fight against Magisters leaves one Paladin with a wound that continues to reopen and bleed even when Healing Potions are applied. The player character can determine that it's caused by a Magister's Vengeful Ghost and cure it by talking the ghost down or destroying it.
  • The titular artifact of Elden Ring enforces the laws of reality in the Lands Between, and presumably the rest of the world as well. God-Emperor Queen Marika removed the Rune of Death from the Elden Ring, and as a result, nothing can die permanently. Dead souls instead return to the Erdtree where they are simply reborn, and dead bodies are given an Erdtree Burial, which absorbs them into its roots, presumably to match them up with the proper souls and plop them back out like nothing happened. Marika gave the Rune of Death to her Dragon, Maliketh, who wields it in the form of a BFS, and it's implied that with that power, he is capable of delivering a true, permanent death to anyone he (or Marika) wants gone for good. Which is very well demonstated when you fight him, as being hit by his power causes Maximum HP Reduction as well as Damage Over Time (fortunately, Gameplay and Story Segregation prevents it from killing you permanently). Several other groups have managed to steal fragments of the Rune of Death from Maliketh and forge their own death-dealing weapons and spells, such as the Black Knife Assassins and their eponymous daggers, as well as the Godskin cult and their god-slaying black flame. As the name of the latter implies, the Rune of Death is also the only thing capable of killing a god. Then we have the Loathsome Dung Eater, a deranged man who kills people and does... something to the bodies to cultivate his Seedbed Curse, which prevents the victim's soul from returning to the Erdtree for rebirth. They still get reborn, but as the cursed and reviled Omen instead of as normal humans. The Dung Eater's goal is to create a Rune that, when added to the Elden Ring, will inflict this curse on everyone in the world. And you can help him achieve this goal.
  • Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas has 2nd to 3rd degree burns over 95% of his body after Caesar had him covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon as punishment for failure. Fortunately, he's Made of Iron, so he survived. Unfortunately, he's Made of Iron, so he's also Immune to Drugs and thus can't heal his burns or reduce the amount of pain he's constantly in. All he can do is change his bandages every day to prevent infection, and whenever he takes them off and exposes his burned flesh to the air, he claims it's like being set on fire all over again.
  • In Fate/stay night, Servant Lancer's Gae Bolg is said to leave cursed wounds that do not heal naturally. A magical Healing Factor or healing magic will allow most magi or Servants to overcome non-fatal blows, while normal humans are doomed. However, even a Servant cannot be healed if Gae Bolg damages their heart.
  • ''Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy XII has the Virus status effect, also known as Disease. Taking damage in Virus status lowers your max HP as well as your current HP and persists even after death — if you're revived still under the effect of Virus, you'll only have 1HP. To heal this effect, you need a Vaccine item, the Cleanse spell, or touch a Save/Gate Crystal. The Bubble spell, which doubles max health, is anathema to Virus: any Virus-inflicting attacks like Pox will either miss or not apply Virus.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 has the same effect, only it's called Wound Damage and is healed using a wound potion. Luckily you are able to inflict this status effect yourself as well instead of just having to suffer it.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: This is what happens to the loyal knight Seth, after an attack in the prologue. Get to the last battle, and he might still be complaining about it... which qualifies him as a Handicapped Badass, since technically speaking the wound doesn't stop him in the slightest.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Ganondorf has one. Long before the game began, Ganondorf was captured, put on trial, and sentenced to execution by the Sages. However, it wasn't until after he was impaled by a great magical sword that he revealed that he had the Triforce of Power, which saved his life. The Sages sealed Ganondorf into another realm ( the Twilight realm), but it doesn't take. When he returns in Twilight Princess, he has the same wound where the Sages impaled him through the heart — and he uses that same execution sword as a weapon.
    • The wound even remains when he transforms into his Dark Beast Ganon form and acts as his weak point in the battle. In the end, Link completes Ganondorf's long overdue execution by impaling him through the wound with the Master Sword and with a jumping stab to be sure. This time the Triforce of Power abandons him.
  • Cuts caused by the Spear of Longinus in Persona 2 would not heal. This unfortunately does in Maya .
  • Pokémon: The burns inflicted by Houndoom are said to never stop hurting and (presumably) never heal. This is just one of the countless facts provided by the Pokedex that are never actually shown to be true.
    • A more straight example comes from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet with Arven’s Mabosstiff. One day, when they were exploring Area Zero, they were attacked by a vicious Paradox Pokémon, which resulted in Mabosstiff getting terribly injured. He was unable to walk, bark, or open his eyes, and healing items and even Pokémon Centers proved to be completely ineffective at treating him. Eventually, Arven discovered the Herba Mystica, reported to be able to cure any ailment if all five are eaten. These slowly heal Mabosstiff, and after all five, he's back at top fighting strength.
  • We have an interesting case with the Demoman from Team Fortress 2 and his missing eye. In the real world, a normal human is unable to regrow an eyeball, but considering The Medic with his medigun, which can heal a cut open stomach in seconds, you'd think it'd be patched up by now. Yet somehow Demo's Eye hasn't healed. The reason for this is that the Demo, when he was young, went to Marasmus the Wizard looking for jobs. He opened a book he was told not to open, and lost his eye, because Magic and shit. According to TF comics issue #6, The Medic HAS tried to fix his eye "At least eight times", but every time he does, on Halloween, Demo's eye come out of his socket, and becomes a massive monster, because his eye socket is haunted. Medic was forced to scoop out the part of Demomans' brain that kept pestering Medic to give him another replacement eye.
  • Kasen Ibaraki from Touhou Ibarakasen -- Wild and Horned Hermit. Her entire right arm is made of smoke and covered in bandages, only because her real right arm was cut off in some manner that prevents her from attaching it back. She has a sake cup that can heal any wounds, however, it's useless against her own and can only preserve her arm from rotting. This turns out to be a lie; she actually can reattach her real right arm, but it turns her back into the wicked oni Ibaraki Douji.

    Web Animation 
  • Bravest Warriors: King Kongletard's Evergauntlet is this to anyone in close proximity to it; it stops aging, but it also stops regeneration of all wounds. This is a plot point throughout the episode because Jelly Kid died and can't regenerate/resurrect while in the same house as the gauntlet.

    Web Comics 
  • Bob and George: Alternate George gets his eyes pecked out between the 297th and 298th strips. (Don't worry, he deserved it.) His eyes are still closed and bleeding at the bottom of the last party, in strip 2634.
  • In Charby the Vampirate Victor has an unhealing cut on his right cheek.
  • Dominic Deegan boasts Karnak, known as the Demon of Wounds before he ascended to become the King of Hell. Most of the wounds that he inflicts remain permanently open even in the face of white magic.
    • Szark Sturtz, one of the wounded, has only managed to get it closed when Karnak became the King of Hell, and only then because it has since been assumed that he's now got so many new powers to play with that he can't be bothered to keep track of them all. Worse yet, the only way to obtain temporary respite for the chronic pain it caused him was to kill someone; no wonder he'd gone so far off the deep end when he first appears. Even after it starts to close, the scar is still livid and healing seemingly in tandem with Szark's progress towards redemption.
    • Dominic loses a leg and some teeth over the course of the story. Normally this would be easy to regenerate with magic, but Dominic's chosen one status has a price tag about these things. And at the grand finale, he loses HALF HIS SOUL. And ability to cast magic. Ouch.
    • Also in general, wounds inflicted by a magic-resistant blade cannot be magically healed. Mundane medicine still works, but injuries like severed nerves are still beyond its ability.
  • Early in Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony gets slashed by a ghost, but the wound appears to fade almost instantly. Later, as she develops her psychic powers, it turns out that her Astral Projection bears a fresh cut, even years afterwards. Said ghost has been trapped as a security device and freeing her is one of Antimony's long term goals. When Antimony manages to do so, the ghost casually heals the wound as she moves on.
  • Seems to be a standard feature for the majority of characters in Hell(p). The wounds range from simple gunshot punctures to ghastly gaping holes, but no one seems to be bothered by them. Although some characters try to hide their wound behind clothing.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Towards the end of book three, Allison gets raked across the face by a frenzied Cio’s claws. The resulting scars never completely heal, presumably because they were caused by a devil, and Allison notes that they still ache a lot over a year later.
  • In The Senkari the titular Senkari keep the wounds they had when they died, but shapeshift them away when they don't want to scare people.
  • Demoman asks Medic why he is unable to grow him another eye to replace the one he lost to the Bombinomicon in his youth while at the same time being able to bring people back to life again and perform other such experiments. Only for Medic to reveal that he had given Demoman his eye back at least 8 times in the past.
    Medic: And every time it functions normally until Halloween Night. At which point it grows bat wings and attacks us. We've fought a Giant your eye, a Dracula your eye, a Brain in a Jar your eye, a Knife-Wielding Ventriloquist Dummy your eye. One year it traveled back in time and tried to become our parents. The point is: in my medical opinion... and as a man of science I do not say this lightly... that eye-socket is HAUNTED.
    Demoman: Wait, why don't I remember any of this?
    Medic: Oh, that? I scooped that part of your brain out so you'd stop asking me.
    Demoman: ...Aye, fair enough.
  • Slightly Damned: Souls who are sent to Hell after dying violent deaths keep the wounds that killed them even after being killed in Hell and respawning, which heals any wounds they got while in Hell, although they do not actually bleed or feel pain from the wounds that originally killed them unless they are sentenced to the deeper levels of Hell. The wounds from their original death will only ever heal if they are brought to the world of the living, but will still leave scars.

    Web Videos 
  • In one of his Counter Monkey videos, Spoony talks about a Thieves' World game he ran once where one of the players accidentally nailed Tempus Thales, a powerful canon character, in the face with a vial of acidnote . Tempus possesses a Healing Factor that should have made this a minor inconvenience at best, but Spoony decided that his patron goddess was enraged over such an ignoble "defeat" and revoked his healing abilities until he avenged the insult. This resulted in Tempus going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that would have made Ahab proud and an Escalating War where both sides crossed the line many times, all while Tempus spent the whole time looking like The Dark Knight version of Two-Face.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Bob's Burgers, Bob cuts his hand and the wound, despite being minor overall, ends up requiring stitches. Overall, the series also implies that Bob has hemophilia, making this the case for any cut he gets.
  • It is a plot point in the Halloween special of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy that if Grim's scythe dismembers a body part, it can never be reattached even if the victim is immortal or otherwise had the ability to remove and reattach it beforehand. The villain of the special wants to decapitate Grim in revenge for it being done to him centuries before, forcing him to use a carved pumpkin as a replacement head.
  • A realistic version in Moral Orel; after Orel is accidentally shot in the leg by Clay during a hunting trip, not only does Clay take over two days to get him to a hospital (he was passed out drunk), but he takes Orel to a criminally incompetent doctor (who would keep his mouth shut and not alert the authorities). As a result, the wound never completely heals, and Orel ends up walking with a limp for the rest of his life.
  • The Owl House: After Lilith punches him in "Elsewhere and Elsewhen", Philip Wittebane is left with a scar and an obviously broken nose. Not only does his nose heal crooked, the scar on his face gets infected by all the Palisman essence he's consuming, and starts to grow instead of heal. By the time he's fully settled in as Emperor Belos, the scar has grown into a massive band of green rot bisecting his face from his hairline to his neck. Said band of rot also contains what looks like multiple gaping open wounds that never seem to heal.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil Toffee is missing a finger, despite being able to regenerate at least his entire arm. The finger being blasted off by Star's mother is depicted in a picture that refers to him as the "immortal monster" implying it took powerful magic to cause him permanent injury. The Season 3 premier reveals that Moon used a powerful Dark Magic spell she learned from Queen Eclipsa to blast Toffee's finger off (a direct hit would have killed him, but doing so would have released Eclipsa from her prison). Physically reattaching it is enough to allow Toffee to fully heal, though it doesn't do him much good before Star's Super Mode melts him.
  • Steven Universe: White Diamond's Pearl has a cracked face and a missing eye, even though normally when a gem is injured they just generate a new body as long as the gem itself isn't damaged. Her face still doesn't heal even after she is freed from White Diamond's control and turns pink again. It's revealed in Future that Steven's healing powers don't work either and the injury was caused by Pink Diamond accidentally hitting her with her screaming attack during a temper tantrum. It can't be repaired like a regular injury because it is a manifestation of the psychological injury Pink Pearl refuses to acknowledge. Once she does confront her feelings and comes to an understanding of them with Pearl, the show avoids ever showing if the wound was healed by purposefully hidding her face from the viewer in her last appearance.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra got stuck with a putrid-looking right arm as a result of trying to snap Rapunzel out of the Reverse Incantation, and apparently not even Rapunzel herself could heal it. She had to retrain herself to swordfight with her good hand. She wasn't sore about it, though, pun not intended. Nope, not sore at all...

    Real Life 
  • Chronic wounds are any type of wound where healing has been delayed due to complications, such as old age, poor circulation, or recurring trauma of the injury. Depending on the type of complication it can take years to heal a chronic wound, if it is even possible.
  • Several venomous creatures (some of the stingrays and the nastiest of spiders) can have this effect, with their venom causing necrosis — getting rid of the dead flesh before it poisons the body leaves a gaping hole that may take years to heal properly. Even then, it'd probably just be a crater or divot covered over with scar tissue.
  • Even with antivenom, the kraits (deadly venomous snakes of India and East Asia) will often leave their victims with serious and permanent nerve damage.
  • People with diabetes are prone to this. They heal more slowly as a rule, and sometimes it's very difficult to get a wound to go away.
  • Dislocated shoulders never completely heal.
  • Hemophilia is a disorder that interferes with the clotting of blood — meaning if a hemophiliac gets a cut, it will continue bleeding well past the point where a normal injury would have scabbed over.
  • The sap of the giant hogweed plant is highly phototoxic and capable of causing blindness if even a small amount comes in contact with the eyes. On the skin, once exposed to sunlight, it results in painful blisters and purple scars that can take years to heal.
  • Burns tend to act like this. Even mild 1st-degree burns leave marks that take months to disappear. 2nd degree burns usually need a trip to the Emergency room to properly treat. 3rd-degree burns take years of surgeries, skin grafts, and recovery to act normally. 4th degree or worse usually result in amputation and/or death.
  • Joint and nerve damage simply does not heal. The only "cure" for severe joint damage is total joint replacement, which is an extremely-invasive surgery that can only be done on certain joints, and only lasts about 20-25 years in the BEST-case scenario. Tough luck to guys who really push their knees a lot, like soldiers and athletes. They have the knees of old men before they're even in their 20s...
  • Head injuries. Depending on where exactly they hit and how hard the impact is, you might simply have a bad headache, or you might lose anything from your memory to the ability to speak in complete sentences, to a number of other things since the human brain is still not fully understood.
  • Lacerations from broken glass or carbide-edged cutting tools bleed incessantly and often take longer to heal than similar cuts from a steel blade.
  • Human bite wounds are notoriously difficult to heal and have an abnormally high propensity for becoming infected. This is due in part to saliva being saturated with bacteria which is already accustomed to living in the human body.
  • One of the symptoms of cancer. Cancer is even infamous for not completely going away even after it's supposedly gone, putting it up with necrosis as an example closer to fictional ones.
  • Scurvy can not only cause poor wound healing but also weaken old scar tissue to the point where previously healed wounds reopen. According to firsthand accounts, there have even been cases of long-healed broken bones falling apart again. Good thing it is one of the easiest diseases to actually treat. Eat an orange and you'll be fine. Scurvy does this because it is caused by not having enough Vitamin C, which causes the body to be unable to produce an important protein called collagen, which acts like a glue holding the body together.
  • Pilonidal fistulas are a really gross version of this (look it up at your own risk). As a result of pressure from sitting for long periods, some people (usually men) will get an ingrown hair near their tailbone that eventually grows into a cyst. If left untreated, the cyst will basically eat itself until it forms an open wound that cannot heal by itself, because it is made of dead tissue. The only treatments involve surgically removing the dead tissue of the fistula, and slowly healing the resulting hole over time.
  • Platypus venom isn't deadly to humans but causes extreme pain that sometimes doesn't go away for months and is unaffected by painkillers.
  • Covid-19 causes this, to varying levels. For some lucky individuals, prolonged effects aren't particularly bad or debilitating, lasting as little as a few weeks after the primary effects of the virus have vanished and being only comparatively minor things like sluggishness. Less lucky individuals have much more serious issues, such as partial body paralysis or physical and/or neurological damage that, while it's too early to determine the actual length, is presently believed to be permanent. COVID-related heart damage is what caused the heart attack that killed Bray Wyatt, a year after his infection.
  • There are few to no photographs of Wesley Willis without a bruise on his forehead. He enjoyed greeting his fans with headbutts, to the point the bruise eventually just stopped healing entirely.
  • Exposure to radiation can result in the loss of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, often due to bone marrow death. This is temporary in smaller doses, but with higher ones, not only do infections and bleeding become a serious problem, but open wounds also won't close and grafts simply won't bond to the skin, which can persist for months. In more extreme cases, radiation will destroy DNA repair pathways entirely, making it impossible for cells to even divide.


Demoman's Eye

"That Eye Socket is HAUNTED!"

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Main / WoundThatWillNotHeal

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