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View Full Version : Is this a survivable wound?



redpbass
05-14-2009, 12:34 AM
Ok, assume a fantasy/medieval setting where magic is present and very powerful, but is not a perfect thing.

Person A gets her lower abdomen ripped open by a stray piece of a building (explosions and stuff, you see). Basically, she's lying there trying to keep her guts from coming out.

Person B pretty much stuffs everything that's hanging out back in and stitches her shut, accelerates the healing process via magic, etc. etc., but it will take time. Person B understands the basics of medicine, such as cleanliness, avoiding infection, and other things of that nature, and has the basic means of taking care of these things. It's also a fairly clean environment (mountainous region, cool air, that sort of thing).

Person A is a young, healthy person in good physical shape. By some miracle, her guts are not ruptured, it is only the outside. The size and depth of the wound is changeable, but it needs to be something that sends her to the very brink of death (she gets better).


Now, assuming this sort of wound is survivable, what would Person B have to look out for? I assume the effects of blood loss, for one thing. Infection, too.

What sort of effect would this have on Person A, during the incident and in the months afterward?

If this isn't survivable, what would be the next best thing of a similar nature?

GeorgeK
05-14-2009, 03:35 AM
It's also a fairly clean environment (mountainous region, cool air, that sort of thing).

There is no such thing as a clean environment. The cool mountains will still have loads of Bacteroides, Pseudomonas and a host of other bacteria living in the dirt. Explosions are dirty.

Also, guts don't fall out unless they are devascularized, and then pushing them back in won't help.

WriteKnight
05-14-2009, 03:51 AM
What exactly is the need? Does the person need to be immobile? Unconcious? In pain? For how long? Do they need to make a 'full and miraculous' recovery, or suffer from complications for the remainder of their lives (or the story ends, whichever comes first).

Palmfrond
05-14-2009, 03:55 AM
Guts can fall out without being disconnected from their blood supply. If the wound from abdominal surgery separates and the intestines protrude from the wound, they can be returned to the abdominal cavity and the incision closed (except for the subcutaneous tissue and skin, which might need to left open to heal in from the bottom). The wide world is *not* a clean environment, and the patient would need serious antibiotics (or in this fictional case, serious magic) to treat infection from all the bacteria the guts come in contact with while outdoors, but it is a survivable disaster. The patient would have a big nasty scar, but otherwise recover normally.

dgiharris
05-14-2009, 05:29 AM
Person B pretty much stuffs everything that's hanging out back in and stitches her shut, accelerates the healing process via magic, etc. etc., but it will take time.

Enough said. You simply have to establish the rules of your world worldbuilding to include magic.

Many abdominal injuries result in guts falling out. The only thing keeping them in is a layer of skin and abdominal muscles (feel your six pack). As long as they aren't shredded/ruptured, then people (if brought to a hospital in time) do survive. The 'guts' are pretty damn tough.

Just be careful establishing the rules of your world and magic. You don't want magic to be too much of a fixer.

One way many authors deal with it is to give matters of healing a time limit. Also, matters of healing require 'specialized magical training'. Just because someone is a wizard doesn't mean they can magically heal you.

Also, a serious injury like this would not be survivable if the person wasn't taken to a 'healing facility' within 24 hrs IMHO and allowed a few days of recovery time (to go from critical to stable). Then a few weeks of taking it easy while the muscles heal. But you mentioned 'accelerated healing'. Just establish the rules. IMHO, make sure that the person suffers and ges through noticeable stages of discomfort as they heal.

Mel...

redpbass
05-14-2009, 06:02 AM
Ok, clearing up mistakes:

1) I understand the world is not clean, this is just a place that is a bit less prone to disease than say, a swamp or a jungle.

2) Person A will be messed up for pretty much the rest of her life, and the effects of this injury are important story-wise, if not the details of the injury itself (which can be changed). It's just the part about going from healthy-young-woman to painfully-recovering-young-woman-that-is-forever-scarred that I'm having trouble with. I am aware it would take a long time to recover, too.

3) It's not a total evisceration sort of wound, but still, it's the sort of thing that would completely freak out anyone unused to such things, with intestines trying to poke out of the injury. It's not like a giant lump of intestines and other organs falls out on the ground. Person A sees something that should be inside, freaks out, and tries to push it back in.

4) The magic system is established before this, and is not all powerful. Even with Person B's help, it is most likely that she will die from an injury this bad, it's practically a miracle that she survives at all. This is important plot-wise.

This line--

If the wound from abdominal surgery separates and the intestines protrude from the wound, they can be returned to the abdominal cavity and the incision closed (except for the subcutaneous tissue and skin, which might need to left open to heal in from the bottom).
--is the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Thanks for the replies so far!

Alitriona
05-14-2009, 12:07 PM
In the movie Dog soldiers super glue was used to close a wound of a guy who had his guts torn out. They used that on the battlefield in world war 2. Seals and keeps out infection. Maybe you could use some substance like that and the magic to speed along the healing.

Prawn
05-15-2009, 12:42 AM
Totally survivable! Alexis St. Martin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_St._Martin) is famous for getting shot in the belly. The would healed, but left a hole into his stomach. He could eat something, and then reach in and pull it out and show it to people, partially digested. He lived 60 years with his hole and was used in many medical studies of digestion.