At the beginning of chapter eight, Pony and Two-Bit visit the hospital to see their close friend, Johnny, who is in critical condition after a flaming beam broke his back. When they arrive at the hospital, the nurse initially refuses to allow them to visit Johnny. Since Pony and Johnny are not family members, the nurse prohibits them from seeing their close friend. Pony mentions that Two-Bit refused to take no for an answer and continued to argue with the nurse for an extended period of time.
After begging and pleading with the nurse to see Johnny, a compassionate doctor intervenes and gives the boys permission to visit their friend. The doctor tells the nurse that Johnny has been asking to see them and remarks that "It can't hurt now" (Hinton, 101). The doctor's comment foreshadows Johnny's impending death, and he allows Pony and Two-Bit to see him because he realizes that Johnny will not live much longer. The doctor sympathizes with Johnny's tragic situation and demonstrates compassion by allowing Pony and Two-Bit to see their dying friend. Even though they are not family and it is against the hospital's policy, the doctor grants Johnny's wishes by allowing him to visit his friends.