I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

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Quite often, when The Hero has been in some terrific stuggle with life and death hanging in the balance, he'll get hurt and not even notice it. The pain of the wound never registers with the character anymore than the fact that he's losing blood. It's only after everything has calmed down that he even becomes aware that he's injured, as if the wound never truly existed until The Hero himself observes it.

If the hero is a true tough guy, he'll shrug the injury off as if it were nothing more than an inconvenience and drive on.

This is actually Truth in Television: adrenaline suppresses pain. This is a survival trait, as pain exists to warn of injuries but can be debilitating in a dangerous situation. It's common for a person to be unaware of their own injuries during a fight, only to succumb to them afterwards.

A trait common to both an Implacable Man and a Determinator. Can sometimes be caused by Feel No Pain. At its most extreme, this can lead to a Time-Delayed Death.

See also Major Injury Underreaction.

Examples of I Ain't Got Time to Bleed include:

Anime and Manga

  • During the harrowing Eclipse, Guts makes the final decision to sever his own arm that was caught in the jaws of a demon in order to save his lover Casca from Femto who is in the middle of raping her. We can easily say that Guts was so pissed off and so very determined to save Casca that the pain of hacking off his arm just wasn't registering to him. Lo, Guts doesn't even pass out from the blood loss until after Casca's rape is completed after his last attempt was cruelly quashed.


  • The Trope Name comes from a mid-firefight conversation between two of the good guys in Predator:

Poncho: "You're bleeding, man. You're hit."
Blain: "I ain't got time to bleed."
Pancho: (confused) "Oh... okay."

    • Jesse Ventura then used this as the title of his first book about politics. Because, of course, ideas from sci-fi action movies are always relevant to the political system.
  • In Young Sherlock Holmes, Holmes doesn't notice he has received a cut under his eye until his fencing lesson with Raithe is over.
  • Barbossa doesn't realize he's been shot at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl until after Will points out that Jack Sparrow didn't waste his shot.
    • Actually, he does realize it, he just points out to Jack that shooting a cursed pirate who can't die is pointless. He has shrugged off typically mortal wounds for a decade, however, making this trope justified in his case.
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World features Captain Jack Aubrey getting a full report on the injured and killed in a battle with a French warship. At the end of the Doctor's speech, the Captain begins to turn away only to have the Doctor say, "Let me have a look at that scalp." It's only then that Captain Aubrey puts his hand up to his brow and realizes he's been wounded.


  • Granny Weatherwax uses magic to suppress injuries gained in a fight until she has time to deal with them. Basically, she invokes this trope in the most literal way.
    • Of course, with Granny what she does with magic is vastly outweighed by what she does by force of will; pain she handles by handling it. But if necessary, (i.e. in case of vampires), she can hold hot iron and put off being burned until she has time to have a burned hand. At that point she's also laid out a burn treatment kit.
    • Earlier in the book she had scoffed at the idea of holding hot iron and not being burned; the distinction between separating cause and effect by an arbitrary span of time and rejecting the effect altogether is stressed.
    • She does it again in Maskerade, when she does a Barehanded Blade Block to the astonishment of all present (everyone knows witches can't use magic on steel - it doesn't occur to them that they can use magic on flesh). It's not until she's home a few days later that she rolls out the salve and bandages and lets the wound happen.
  • Also from the Discworld, Detritus of the Night Watch is injured at one point, which is no mean feat, since he's made of stone. When his cracks begin oozing some strange liquid, he invokes the trope name by saying he "Ain't got time to ooze."
  • City of Thieves' main character, Lev, doesn't notice loosing half of a finger in a fight.

Live Action TV

  • Benjamin Sisko does this in the Deep Space Nine episode "Adversary".
  • Invoked in one episode of MASH, where a soldier insists to Hawkeye that while he is fine, his unconscious friend is the one who needs a doctor. The friend's wounds are minor, and its only after Hawkeye tells the soldier his friend will be fine that we discover that the soldier who carried his friend into the hospital is almost mortally wounded himself and has been holding it together long enough to get his buddy to medical attention.
  • Played with on Community. During a high-stakes game of paintball, Jeff notices red on his clothes. At first he think he's been hit, but then he realizes it's blood and exclaims "It's okay. It's not paint. I'm bleeding. Thank God I'm only bleeding!"
  • On The West Wing: When President Bartlett is shot in the first season finale, he doesn't realize it until the guy in the back of the car with him notices he's bleeding. This was based on the real life assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

Video Games

Soldier: You cannot hurt me, I do not have time to bleed!
Soldier: My schedule has just opened up! Aaaohhww, my God!

Western Animation

Weasel #1: "Nelson, you're bleeding!"
Nelson: "Naw, happens all the time. Someone else's blood splatters on me and... Hey, wait a minute... You're right!" (turns to Bart) "You made me bleed my own blood!"

  • Shrek doesn't notice there's an arrow on his butt until it's pointed out.

Web Comics

  • In Penny and Aggie, when Gary attacks Rich without warning at a party, Rich's initial reaction is simply to shout "Ow!", punch him out, and wonder whether Gary was trying to give him a "purple nurple." He doesn't notice, until Stan points it out, that he has a knife in his chest and is bleeding profusely. "Doesn't really hurt," he says, before passing out.

Real Life

  • Can happen in Real Life. Sometimes you'll cut yourself but won't notice until you look at the wound directly. This especially happens when the circumstances make small cuts and other injuries commonplace.
    • Chefs, for example, often nick themselves while cutting food, or burn themselves slightly while cooking, and not only never seem to notice, but if other people point out that they are hurt, tend to take such things in stride because they are so used to it happening.
    • It's a combination of the injury being unexpected, and adrenaline keeping you from feeling the pain.
  • General Albert Sidney Johnston of the Confederacy was shot in the back of the knee at the Battle of Shiloh. Apparently he didn't notice that the bullet had nicked an artery which was bleeding profusely. No one else noticed until he nearly fell out of his saddle. His aides helped him off his horse and sat him down against a tree, where he promptly died.
  • This article has a list of stories about being critically injured and only noticed when it was pointed out.