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Old 11-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
Lebby
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Wound question

I did try searching the forum, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I have a scenario in mind, but I am not sure of the details.

My character is shot from a distance 20 to 30 yards with a .22 (that's flexible, if needed). I need the wound to seem not that serious. He needs to be conscious and if possible mobile, but in pain and not bleeding excessively, and for everyone (my other characters; the doctors can think differently) to be thinking that he's not in real danger of death. He should be able to have visitors in the hospital the next day, but he should be considered out of action for the remainder of the story, so that the other characters will have to act on his information. Then, 24-48 hours later, he develops a serious infection and high fever and is in danger of dying of organ failure.

My thought was that the bullet would enter his side, hit a rib, and from there do some damage to... What? What could it hit that would seem non-life-threatening but allow for serious complications? Is it plausible to use a .22 for this, since the bullet would be small and (maybe) less likely to exit the body? Is this scenario generally plausible?
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebby View Post
I did try searching the forum, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I have a scenario in mind, but I am not sure of the details.

My character is shot from a distance 20 to 30 yards with a .22 (that's flexible, if needed). I need the wound to seem not that serious. He needs to be conscious and if possible mobile, but in pain and not bleeding excessively, and for everyone (my other characters; the doctors can think differently) to be thinking that he's not in real danger of death. He should be able to have visitors in the hospital the next day, but he should be considered out of action for the remainder of the story, so that the other characters will have to act on his information. Then, 24-48 hours later, he develops a serious infection and high fever and is in danger of dying of organ failure.

My thought was that the bullet would enter his side, hit a rib, and from there do some damage to... What? What could it hit that would seem non-life-threatening but allow for serious complications? Is it plausible to use a .22 for this, since the bullet would be small and (maybe) less likely to exit the body? Is this scenario generally plausible?
A less serious wound would actually be one where the bullet exited. If it stayed in the body, they'd usually try to remove it. Also bullets can expand or shatter when they hit hard tissue like bone which is what usually stops them. That creates a lot of damage.

You could have him shot somewhere fleshy and it be a clean exit/entry wound. Infections can be picked up very easily in a hospital setting, regardless of what a patient is in for. Now that there are drug resistant bacteria strains floating around they can be quite serious.

My cousin's husband was shot in the head with a .22. Luckily it went clean through, he recovered just fine with some minor improvements to his personality. He would have been in deep doo doo if it had stayed lodged in his skull.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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I'd like to point out that a shot to the abdomen is never a minor matter. There are too many fragile bits in there for any doctor to ignore.

If you're just looking for complications, you could have him get hit in, say, the shoulder, and then develop an infection. The wound doesn't need to be too close to an organ for an infection to spread there and begin shutting it down.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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Most .22 wounds will not look too serious. A shooter has to really focus on shot placement to cause real damage with a .22. For the purposes of your story, he could be shot about anywhere in the thorax/abdomen and still plausibly have mobility and minimal bleeding.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:40 AM   #5
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What about if the bullet pops a lung?
I'm not a doctor, but my understanding is that if a lung collapses, there will be internal bleeding and decreased oxygen saturation. He might be in pretty bad shape when he gets to the ER, but once the doc treats him, he should start recovering pretty quickly.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:34 AM   #6
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Thanks, everyone! That's really helpful.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
You could have him shot somewhere fleshy and it be a clean exit/entry wound. Infections can be picked up very easily in a hospital setting, regardless of what a patient is in for. Now that there are drug resistant bacteria strains floating around they can be quite serious.
My dad had open heart surgery and developed an infection in less than 4 days. His heart was fine but he ended up in the hospital for 3 month because of the infection. Four surgery's, rehab and no sternum. My mom carry's bleach soaked rags in a zip lock bag in her purse, if any of her loved ones has a hospital stay. Then she cleans their room.
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