What medicine did Ellie give Joel in ‘The Last of Us?’

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) feeding an injured Joel (Pedro Pascal) in 'The Last of Us'
Image via HBO

Warning: the following article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode eight, “When We Are in Need.”

Poor, poor Ellie. Even though her predicament was laid bare two weeks ago at the conclusion of The Last of Us episode six, in episode eight, she truly needs to come to grips with having to survive on her own, which includes keeping herself and Joel fed, as well as finding him some medical care.

To her (mis?)fortune, while out hunting for deer, she happens to come across James and David, who are willing to trade her some medicine for a share of the buck she has just felled. The two parties come to an agreement, and he sends James away to procure some medication for Ellie and her “large group.”

Relations quickly become tense when David reveals that the group which Joel and Ellie encountered at the University of Colorado (an altercation which led to a death) were a part of his community. James returns with the medication and hands it over to Ellie. For reasons unknown to the audience at that moment, David lets her get away. 

With a brewing conflict to certainly be settled later in the episode, Ellie, who has barely a lick of medical experience, returns to her hideout to treat Joel’s wound. What is this medicine?

What did Ellie give Joel for his stab wound?

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) pointing a rifle
Image via HBO

David instructed James to bring back “two bottles of penicillin and a syringe,” which is what was then handed over to Ellie. Penicillin is (at least in the modern, pre-apocalypse world) a common antibiotic drug which has been around since the 1920s, and is used to treat bacterial infections, such as the one developing on Joel’s wound.

It was certainly a worthwhile trade, which more or less ends up saving Joel’s life, but poor Ellie is no doctor; she has little medical experience outside of administering a few stitches here and there, and the poor soul doesn’t even have access to Google to give her a hand in this trying moment. She even begs a comatose Joel to tell her where to stick the needle, but of course, to no avail. Ellie ends up winging it, and injects the penicillin directly into the wound.

Did Ellie administer the penicillin correctly?

Image via HBO

Ellie doesn’t have access to the luxury of the internet, but we do. While we’re not doctors, it doesn’t appear to be all that commonplace a practice to inject penicillin directly into the site of a wound, though it appears it isn’t entirely detrimental (or lethal) either.

We don’t know exactly what kind of penicillin Ellie was administering, but it seems that some, if not all, concentrations shouldn’t be injected intravenously because it can cause severe side effects. Thankfully, she got that right. In most cases, penicillin should be administered intramuscularly, usually around the upper thigh/buttock region. Close enough? Joel didn’t die, so all’s well that ends well.