View Full Version : Gunshot wound

04-07-2011, 10:08 AM
Hi so I need a little help. I'm working on a story where one of my characters gets shot. She's 5 feet tall and about 120lb she gets shot with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun in the right bicep, it's a through and through but doesn't hit anything major. So what I need help with is:

What would a realistic reaction be to getting shot?(I know she probably wouldn't fall down or would she?)
How would they treat it in the ER?(stitches or more than that?)
Would it be realistic for her to be released the same day or would she more likely be admitted over night?
What would she be sent home with as far as painkillers and antibiotics go?
Would she be sent home with a sling or not?

Any positive input would be greatly appreciated :)

04-07-2011, 10:48 AM
1) It would depend what your character was doing when she got shot. If its an intense scene where she would have alot of adrenaline pumping she might not fall down due to the shot, with extremely adrenaline filled experiences she might not even notice she is shot at first.

If she is shot out of the blue, she will most likely go into shock, although that is dependent on the person as well everyone is different

2) they would treat it with more then stitches in the ER. A bullet going all the way through, she will have muscle damage and doctors will have to check to make sure it didnt nick anything important. I'm not a doctor so i dont know the name but i hear its a special type of thing they do with wounds that go all the way through.

3) no it would not be realistic for her to go home the same day, with every shotting incident that goes into a hospital the police are called to question the victim. that is standard and time consuming. And with a wound like that they would need to probably keep her for observation.

4) Sorry dont know.

5) Yes she would need a sling. With a wound like that she would have serious muscle damage and would need her arm in a sling until the damage healed fully.

I'm not a doctor or anything but I've investigated such questions myself for a book and these are the answers I've come up with for my books, hope it helps!

Quentin Nokov
04-07-2011, 06:59 PM
I'm no doctor nor have I been shot this is just my guess as far as what would happen.

I would think the way anything heals the reaction to the wound -- as anything -- would be massive itchiness.

Bullets are unpredictable, they can bounce around in someone's arm before actually exiting, so she would have major muscle damage, which would result in a sling and I should suspect when she was finally discharged should would not be allowed to drive for about two months maybe less.

Although, handguns produce significantly lower damage because they have a slower velocity than to a rifle or something like that.

Now, really, a gunshot would is nothing more than a puncture wound. Prior to her visit to the E.R. if she really really needs a quick, easy, and life-saving treatment to stop the bleeding, since she's a girl and would most likely be in possession of these, is to insert a tampon in the wound.

There was a true story about a tampon saving a soldier's life <.< Just thought I'd throw that in there.

That would help stop the bleeding. Tourniquets are not advised, and I would think she would want it to bleed, but if it continues and the entrance wound is big enough for her to insert the tampon it could save her life. Otherwise just wrapping it in bandages is fine -- but when the bandages get soaked she would want to apply more bandages and leave the blood-soaked ones on.

She would most likely be sent home with antibiotics since infection could readily set in. She would also need to change her dressings everyday and would probably need -- ah brain-freeze -- what's it called. I can't think of its correct name at the moment, but it's a muscle therapy.

For pain relief I would think acetaminophen or ibuprofen (this thins blood, just so you know) would be appropriate, but it also depends on the doctor.

Realistically, she probably wouldn't be released the same day, but I suppose what time she enters the E.R.

So, I hope this helped ^.^

Steve Collins
04-08-2011, 12:05 AM
A gunshot wound even though it passes through the bicep and doesn't hit anything major is extremely painful. Think about what happens when the round passes through the skin and possibly even the clothing? The following is an excerpt from my autobiography:

The whole sequence of firing a pair of shots had taken no more than a second, both rounds finding their mark, tearing through flesh and tissue. The small, round entry holes hardly bore testimony to the damage inside the body, as gas, dirt and minute particles of damaged clothing were sucked into the void of the gunshot wounds.

On another occasion when a colleague was shot in the leg they cut a line down between the entry and exit wounds so they could clean it out thoroughly, before sewing it up and putting in a drain.

Yes, she would be kept in hospital (but I'm not a doctor).
Yes, she would when released be on antibiotics and painkillers. Blood poisoning and infection would be a major concern.
Possibly she would be in a sling.

Hope this helps?

04-08-2011, 12:22 AM
I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that a through-and-through as you described would cause some sort of nerve damage as well. There are usually (from what I've read/heard) longer lasting consequences to getting shot. Recovering from a shooting is more than just waiting for the hole in her arm to heal up, as far as I'm aware.

FWIW, a book I've found invaluable when writing about these kinds of things is Body Trauma (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Trauma-Writers-Wounds-Injuries/dp/1933016418/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302207852&sr=8-1) by David W. Page.