View Full Version : Medical Advice Needed

06-23-2008, 12:10 PM
In the story I'm currently working on, my main Human character gets shot in the shoulder with an arrow. He keeps the arrow in until medical aid arrives on the scene--the idea being to minimize blood-loss. Is this correct, or should he take the arrow out immediately? His wife is a medical doctor, so I would think he would have an idea.

Thank you in advance.


06-23-2008, 12:47 PM
This might help


I liked the use of urine

P.S. Further to the above, due to the nature of the arrow (if the arrow has barbs)considerable damage could be done on the withdrawal. If the head has passed through ,it would probably be better to break off the head before removal.

06-25-2008, 11:01 AM
It's your ordinary arrow.

Thank you for that link. It's stirring up some ideas.

06-28-2008, 05:17 AM
What time period is this set in? Modern/historical/fantasy? And how did it happen? If he was in the middle of fighting, the adrenalin would be flowing and he'd probably just snap the shaft and keep on fighting.

06-28-2008, 05:58 AM
yup, leave the arrow in, if surgery is not an option (don't know what time period you're writing in) it might even be best to push it the rest of the way out instead of pulling it out- arrows are designed to do maximum damage when pulled out against the barbs- you still run the risk of lacerating something vital when pushing it- lots of important vessels running through that area-

06-28-2008, 12:08 PM
It's a sort of time travel/alternate universe-type story. The character is from the 22nd century, but he's currently at the mercy of a Middle Ages Human society.

He was defending a dragon, who herself was injured by a number of arrows--which, to a dragon, would seem like sewing pins--from a band of soldiers.

06-28-2008, 01:34 PM
sounds interestng- OK, Middle age human society-I think I would have to say push the arrow the rest of the way through the wound, unless it is a shallow wound which I am thinking it is not- (How's that for akward sentence structure:)) It is going to hurt like hell and probably make your MC pass out from pain and quite possably blood loss. The subclavian vien run just underneath your clavicle (collarbone) - If you want the guy to live have him hit on the right side above the clavicle- the soft spot just behind your shoulder would be perfect. You could push the arrow out and avoid the scapula and most life-threatening structures- now all you have to worry about is the infection that most definitely will occur with in the next 24-48 hours. If he is healthy to begin with, He should be able to fight it off on his own. He will not be able to use his arm for a long time afterwards though as lots of muscles and possibly nerves will be damaged-

Hope that helps-

ETA- I just re-read the OP and realize I wnet off on a tangant and never really answered your question- yes leave the arrow in until some sort of medical assitance is available to minimize blood loss- the rest above is for after he is in medical hands- sorry about that!

06-28-2008, 03:22 PM
pre-modern med: Vinegar and honey was used for wound care as a cleanser and to help heal, respectively. For stopping bleeding, cauterization helps. There's also the chance of infection from foriegn bodies, sepsis, and simple poison on the arrow.

06-29-2008, 02:47 PM
There's a great scene in Kingdom of Heaven where Liam Neilson's (sp?) character is shot with arrow. Later, he has to have arrow yanked while enduring the warning: if it entered the bone, the marrow can cause sickness and even death...if not *shrug* perhaps just fever. You're in God's hands now.

That's not the exact quote, but what I'm trying to convey is that if you own this movie or can rent it, or even check it out free from your local library, it provides a visual of what being pierced with an arrow can do, how a grown man can still go on fighting, regardless of pain, and then a non-doctor/non modern medicinal treatment.

Whenever possible, I prefer visuals because they also provide backdrop which enhances the imagination & provides miniscule details our 'mental movie' sometimes forgets.

Anyhoo, hope this helps.


06-29-2008, 11:20 PM
Also medicinal knowledge varied in skill from place to place. Jewish and Arab physics were lightyears ahead of their Medieval European counterparts who were more likely to buy the title Dr. than actually have any working knowledge. In that case you'd be better off with a hedge witch or midwife.

06-29-2008, 11:37 PM
oooh, and read up on ancient Egyptian medicinal practices. Three thousand years before Christ, they were performing brain surgery AND had electricity.
Great stuff!!!

06-29-2008, 11:44 PM
Egyptian Brain surgery 3000 B.C.
Even found brain surgery--successfully completed--as far back as 7000 b.c.

Here's the link--simply because it's fascinating stuff!