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dblteam
06-30-2005, 06:13 PM
For the medical professionals among us...

What would be an ordinary recovery time for a large caliber bullet wound to the thigh? In this case, it's a round from an aircraft nose cannon (20mm), so a *very* large caliber, but it's intended to be a non-life threatening injury. As I've written it, the round slices throught the quad muscle without damaging the character's knee. The character is in the Navy and is supposed to be able to return to active duty after recovering from the injury.

So, I guess my question is twofold: One, is this a reasonable assumption (that someone could recover fully from an injury of this type), and two, how long would it take (and what would be required in terms of physical therapy, etc, to return to normal activity)?

Thanks,

Dblteam

Meantime
06-30-2005, 07:33 PM
I'm not a medical professional, but I do know a bit about military ordnance, so maybe this will help you out a bit.

If person was shot in the leg by a 20mm round, especially in a dense area like the quad, the effects would be devastating. Those rounds are so heavy and travelling at such high velocity that an impact, even a grazing one, would pretty much blow the entire leg off. Plus those shells are semi-explosive and splinter even from grazing impacts (which helps them shoot down other aircraft) so in addition to the impact trauma, you'd be perforated by hundreds of tiny metal spikes. Sorry to be graphic, but even a .50 cal BMG round (12.7mm) will easily cut a human being in half, so you get an idea of what a 20mm shell would do.

A more likely scenario, IMO, would be a near-miss that shot splinters through your character's leg. And from working with the Veteran's Administration, I doubt any armed forces member with the type of injury you're describing would be returning to active duty for a long time, if ever.

Hope this helps.

Gehanna
06-30-2005, 08:42 PM
I am not a Doctor but I am a Registered Nurse. I agree with Meantime's opinion of the situation.

dblteam
06-30-2005, 09:00 PM
Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Plot-wise, I can easily use the near-miss, with my character getting hit by a piece of shrapnel. The character is standing on an ordinary paved highway in the U.S. (2-lane). What would the impact of the 20mm rounds be on the pavement? Would they blow good-sized craters in the street, or fragment without creating a big crater? How far away would the character need to be from the impact to believably suffer this kind of recoverable wound?


Thanks again,

Dblteam

Meantime
06-30-2005, 11:03 PM
Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Plot-wise, I can easily use the near-miss, with my character getting hit by a piece of shrapnel. The character is standing on an ordinary paved highway in the U.S. (2-lane). What would the impact of the 20mm rounds be on the pavement? Would they blow good-sized craters in the street, or fragment without creating a big crater? How far away would the character need to be from the impact to believably suffer this kind of recoverable wound?


Thanks again,

Dblteam

No problem. I don't know what type of aircraft would be shooting at your character, but if we take a typical Vulcan 20mm cannon found in most American warplanes, and a typical M56 High-Explosive Incendiary round weighing 1543 grams (3.5oz), it will have a "casualty" (lethal) radius of about 2 meters. The effects of this projectile on solid surfaces like concrete are minimal; although it is explosive, most of the power is dissipated into fragments for use against "light" targets, like airplanes, unarmored vehicles and...people. So no big craters, just lots of perforations. If you've ever seen pavement hit with shotgun pellets, you have a good idea.

So I would say your character, to only suffer a single recoverable wound, would have to be at least 10 feet away from the impacts, and very lucky.

rich
06-30-2005, 11:26 PM
I'd rule out .50 caliber, unless it was a much older plane. Since, apparently, it needs to be a plane, a nose cannon these days are usually 30 mm. I don't even think there's an exception.

If it's today's air ordnance you gotta not think of rounds directly hitting your character without killing him.

dblteam
07-01-2005, 12:38 AM
I have several options here, and will have to do some more research to figure out what's most realistic. The airplane is a biplane (possibly a newer aerobatic or racing model, but I'm leaning toward a vintage WWI-era airplane that's been restored, or a replica of such). It would need to have a bay for a nose cannon to be mounted, and the weapon would have to be timed to fire between propeller blades. (Hence the need for more research: Obviously, today's 20mm/30mm modern aircraft cannons don't work on the same design since they're mounted on jet aircraft or helicopters, but I don't know if an older design could easily use modern explosive/incendiary rounds or not. My assumption is that, if it would be reasonably easy to adapt, then it will exist in my story. (This is a near-future SF story.)

Meantime, your input has been invaluable and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions.

Dblteam

Meantime
07-01-2005, 01:11 AM
I'm happy to help.

Far as vintage biplanes go, they weren't armed with heavy guns like that, they had rifle-caliber .30 machine guns in which case a grazing wound would be feasible. The heaviest armament I remember on a biplane was .50 caliber and even then it only had one, and that was a very late 1930's model.

WWII planes, however, had much heavier armament. The Messerschmidt 109 (also referred to as a Bayarischfluegzueg, or Bf 109) had a hub-mounted 20mm cannon in its Eastern Front models, I don't remember the exact model but I think it was an E or an F. In later versions this was replaced with a 30mm cannon for taking down B-17s and other heavy bombers. There were other WWII aircraft that had hub-mounted cannons, the Bell P-39 Airacobra had a big 37mm designed for ground attacks that jammed frequently. The hub-mounted cannons didn't need to be synchronized with the propellors since the blades were mounted behind the muzzles.

There's a lot of vintage aircraft out there that fit your needs, grab a reference from the bookstore or library and you can probably pick one out in less than an hour.

BTW, almost all those older WWII cannons used the same type of explosive HEI ammunition as used today in modern armament. Not much has changed.

dblteam
07-01-2005, 02:43 AM
I so wish I could afford a subscription to "Jane's All the World's Aircraft".

:Shrug:

Dblteam

dblteam
07-05-2005, 05:21 AM
I'm bringing this back to the top because, while I've received some great feedback and information on ordinance, my original medically-oriented question remains unanswered.

A character in my WIP is shot by a round from the nose cannon of a WWI-era biplane (firing 30 caliber ammunition, similar to a rifle round of the same size). She is shot in the thigh, and my intention is for the wound to be something she can recover completely from. (She's in the Navy and needs to be able to return to active duty.) As written currently, the round tears up her quad muscle, but doesn't hit the femur or damage her knee.

So my question is two-fold: 1) Would a wound of this kind be something a normal person could recover completely from, given our current medical practices (or very near future), and good physical therapy? And 2) How long would this process take?

Thanks,

Dblteam

rich
07-05-2005, 11:03 PM
Your question, as originally posed, was answered, and the ordinance had everything to do with it. What you're looking for now is a healing time based on the extent of the wounds you decided to give her. Since the femur's ok and there was no knee damage the focus is on healing time for her quad muscle.

Personally, Id'a played with bone damage that could be remedied with pins and such, and would have a more predictable cure time.

Jamesaritchie
07-06-2005, 03:24 AM
For the medical professionals among us...

What would be an ordinary recovery time for a large caliber bullet wound to the thigh? In this case, it's a round from an aircraft nose cannon (20mm), so a *very* large caliber, but it's intended to be a non-life threatening injury. As I've written it, the round slices throught the quad muscle without damaging the character's knee. The character is in the Navy and is supposed to be able to return to active duty after recovering from the injury.

So, I guess my question is twofold: One, is this a reasonable assumption (that someone could recover fully from an injury of this type), and two, how long would it take (and what would be required in terms of physical therapy, etc, to return to normal activity)?

Thanks,

Dblteam

I think I'd pick a different round. Caliber alone doesn't determine wound size and severity. Most 20mm cannon fired explosive rounds or incendiary rounds. Getting hit with the first at least means a missing leg, and getting hit with the second is going to cause a lot of damage because these rounds often disrupted when hitting flesh and caused wounds that were just unbelievable. Get hit with one of these, and at the very least you will no longer be a soldier.

Aircraft did sometimes fire 20mm armor piercing rounds, and one of the could slice thorugh without a life-threatening wound. But with one of these tearing through the quad, there's going to be a lot of damage. But recovery time could be anywhere from a couple of weeks to three months, depending on what you mean by recovery.

I believe I'd have the round slice through without tearing up the muscle. Muscle can take a long time to heal, and often never heals the way it should.

three seven
07-06-2005, 03:50 AM
Would a wound of this kind be something a normal person could recover completely from, given our current medical practices (or very near future), and good physical therapy?Simple answer: No.

Even assuming the leg stayed on, the femur stayed intact and the artery wasn't damaged, anything better than massive tissue loss and a permanent limp would require an inordinate amount of luck, if not an outright miracle.

Equally pertinently, while we could discuss for days the relative merits of armour piercing vs incendiary vs explosive rounds and 20mm vs 30mm and so on, ultimately very few of your readers will be ballistics experts and as such they'll all be shouting "Don't be stupid, that'd take your leg clean off!" before throwing your book out the window.

This may be one of those times when it pays to be a little circumspect. ;)

dblteam
07-06-2005, 06:09 AM
I'm sorry to have made the question confusing with my lack of knowledge of ordinance.

However, the question I'm asking is about a 30 caliber round (similar to a rifle round). It is fired from an aircraft (a WWI-era biplane), so no incindiary, no explosive.

In *this* situation, what is the prospective recovery time, and would complete recovery be possible?

Dblteam

Jamesaritchie
07-06-2005, 08:56 AM
I'm sorry to have made the question confusing with my lack of knowledge of ordinance.

However, the question I'm asking is about a 30 caliber round (similar to a rifle round). It is fired from an aircraft (a WWI-era biplane), so no incindiary, no explosive.

In *this* situation, what is the prospective recovery time, and would complete recovery be possible?

Dblteam

A simply .30 caliber round, full metal jacket, can poke a hole in muscle without during a lot of major damage, or it can destroy the muscle entirely. I know a man who was hit in the forearm with just such a round, and he lost nearly all the muscle.

But if the round passes though as it sometimes does, you can be walking (Painfully) within a two or three days days, and be close to normal within four to six weeks or so. Assuming there is no infection, of course.

I was once shot through the calf, and while it hurt like a *^&%$, and bled more than you'd believe, I was still jumping around on it at the time. I had no choice. It didn't even hurt at the time. The next few days were painful, and I couldn't put any weight on that leg for five days or so, but pain killers took most of the burden, and a month or so later you'd never know I'd been shot.

Well, it wasn't completely healed a month later, but there was no longer any real pain, and it was more like dealing with residual soreness than anything else.

But that bullet went in one side, came out the other, and actually did very little damage to the muscle. Sometimes you get lucky.

maestrowork
07-06-2005, 09:54 AM
Fascinating discussion. Sorry I was lurking, but this information would be helpful for me as well...

Thanks.

three seven
07-06-2005, 12:31 PM
I'm sorry to have made the question confusing with my lack of knowledge of ordinance.

However, the question I'm asking is about a 30 caliber round (similar to a rifle round). It is fired from an aircraft (a WWI-era biplane), so no incindiary, no explosive.

In *this* situation, what is the prospective recovery time, and would complete recovery be possible?

DblteamOk, firstly, how many ways do you want people to answer this question? If all you're waiting for is someone to say "Oh, well if the plane's got two pairs of wings rather than just one, that's a different matter - she'll be playing football again in three days" then I hope you brought a tent.

And secondly, make your mind up. Is it a 20mm round or a .30cal round? There's a big difference.

three seven
07-06-2005, 12:38 PM
Oh, and whatever way you ask the question, it's still all about the bullet.

Read this (http://home.snafu.de/l.moeller/military_bullet_wound_patterns.html) for example. To help you out, .30cal is 7.62mm.

dblteam
07-06-2005, 09:24 PM
Firstly, thanks you Jamesaritchie for the information. That is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I won't ask how you ended up getting shot, but I'm very glad you were able to recover.

Three Seven said:


Ok, firstly, how many ways do you want people to answer this question? If all you're waiting for is someone to say "Oh, well if the plane's got two pairs of wings rather than just one, that's a different matter - she'll be playing football again in three days" then I hope you brought a tent.

And secondly, make your mind up. Is it a 20mm round or a .30cal round? There's a big difference.

Is there really any reason to get irate with me? I did make up my mind, and reposed the question with a new scenario.

My initial thought of using modern ordinance, I learned with the help of different folks' input, would be pretty hard to make work in this situation, given how devastating it is, and I can easily have the vintage airplane using its original ammunition. My original thought was that the airplane would have been retrofitted, but there's no reason it has to be. The story is set in a near-future SF earth, and the mix of weapons from different eras works fine in that setting.

So the only question that remained, in my mind, was to make sure my character could, believably, return to active duty after being injured by the 30 caliber round and what kind of injury would make that a reasonable chain of events.

If you're tired of the conversation, please just drop out rather than sniping at me.

Valerie

three seven
07-06-2005, 11:58 PM
Valerie, I'm not the only person who's noticed that your questions read like you're repeating them for the sake of all us dumbasses who didn't get it the first time. If you don't make your question clear, and respond to my (or anyone else's) input in a patronising manner, I will jump down your throat.

But since you didn't mean offence, I won't continue to take it.

loquax
07-07-2005, 12:13 AM
If its SF/ near future, you can do whatever you want. Have them invent something that repairs destroyed muscles. Don't tell the reader what calibur the bullet is. There are lots of things you can do to avoid such confusion.

Meantime
07-07-2005, 01:35 AM
Firstly, thanks you Jamesaritchie for the information. That is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I won't ask how you ended up getting shot, but I'm very glad you were able to recover.

Three Seven said:



Is there really any reason to get irate with me? I did make up my mind, and reposed the question with a new scenario.

My initial thought of using modern ordinance, I learned with the help of different folks' input, would be pretty hard to make work in this situation, given how devastating it is, and I can easily have the vintage airplane using its original ammunition. My original thought was that the airplane would have been retrofitted, but there's no reason it has to be. The story is set in a near-future SF earth, and the mix of weapons from different eras works fine in that setting.

So the only question that remained, in my mind, was to make sure my character could, believably, return to active duty after being injured by the 30 caliber round and what kind of injury would make that a reasonable chain of events.

If you're tired of the conversation, please just drop out rather than sniping at me.

Valerie

A .303 caliber wound would likely be recoverable. A typical Vickers machine gun of that era has a muzzle velocity of about 2,440 feet per second. When you get to calibers above 10mm and/or velocities above 3000 feet per second, you are getting big wounds with hydrostatic shock, maiming and other things that are not "recoverable" in the sense you are speaking of.

So yes, your character could conceivably recover from a ballistic wound like that. How long it takes depends greatly on where they were shot, at what angle, and other factors like their age, general health and medical care. You'll have to invent a little bit here to make it a "recoverable" wound. But to answer your original question, yes, it's believeable.

On a side note, I happen to be one of those readers who pays attention to details like the effects of ammunition, and writers who haven't researched things like that instantly lose credibility with me. :)

rich
07-08-2005, 02:20 AM
Yep, she's being a real pain in the ***.

Hey! Now that's a good angle!

Jamesaritchie
07-09-2005, 01:59 AM
Valerie, I'm not the only person who's noticed that your questions read like you're repeating them for the sake of all us dumbasses who didn't get it the first time. If you don't make your question clear, and respond to my (or anyone else's) input in a patronising manner, I will jump down your throat.

But since you didn't mean offence, I won't continue to take it.

Jeeze, lighten up. The order of her questions seems perfectly loguical to me. If you don't like them, don't read them. Looks like you're already jumping down a throat for no sane reason at all.

WAPS
08-16-2005, 01:53 AM
Having been someone who has experianced the effects of a bullet entering the body, which happens to be the first chapter of my new book entitled: "Welcome to the Real World, A Dangerous Place to be Caught Unprepared!" I would be happy to discuss assisting you with this information.

I have posted under another section my availability to consult on these matters at a very reasonable rate.

If you like, please contact me directly at admin@wa-protective.com

Be Safe

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC

Main Website - www.wa-protective.com (http://www.wa-protective.com)
New Book Website - www.wttrw.com (http://www.wttrw.com)

P.S. Just in case I will PM you as well.

Prezzy
11-11-2007, 06:36 PM
I have a related question to the original post. I'm writing a story, and I need some information.

In the beginning of the story, a girl takes a stray 9mm to the abdomen. She gets medical treatment right away, and survives, but I need to know how long a hospital would keep some one with that type of injury before discharging them (it would kind of establish a timeline). It would also be nice to know how long it takes for some one to get back to 100% after trauma like that.

I have a second question which may be tougher to answer. I've heard on the news about people being shot in the throat, and being relatively fine afterwards. How does this happen, and what would be the maximum caliber bullet that some one could take to the throat and not die?

rugcat
11-11-2007, 07:39 PM
Having been someone who has experianced the effects of a bullet entering the body, which happens to be the first chapter of my new book entitled: "Welcome to the Real World, A Dangerous Place to be Caught Unprepared!" I would be happy to discuss assisting you with this information.

I have posted under another section my availability to consult on these matters at a very reasonable rate.I also have considerable expertise in a number of areas, as I describe in my new book, "1000 Ways To Make A Little Extra Cash."

I'm always glad to help out a fellow writer -- for a small fee.

WittyandorIronic
11-11-2007, 07:46 PM
I couldn't tell you specifically about the abdomen or throat, but I know that any type of injury is heavily dependent on the victim. Their health, age, diseases, and the time to medical attention, along with all the actual injury factors, greatly affect the time to heal. Just as an example, my step father was shot in both the chin (yes...the chin) and the back, and not only survived but was only in the hospital 1-2 weeks. My wedding was 3 months later, and he was healed and without any visible scarring at that time. Obviously he still had some internal pain and rehab issues, but visibly he was fine.

Tsu Dho Nimh
11-11-2007, 11:33 PM
I have a related question to the original post. I'm writing a story, and I need some information. In the beginning of the story, a girl takes a stray 9mm to the abdomen. She gets medical treatment right away, and survives, but I need to know how long a hospital would keep some one with that type of injury before discharging them (it would kind of establish a timeline). It would also be nice to know how long it takes for some one to get back to 100% after trauma like that.

Look at the anatomy of the abdomen: look at the VITAL organs and the blood supply piping arrangements.

It all depends on what the "stray bullet to the abdomen" hits. I've seen them go straight through the fatty tissue of an obese person leaving minimal trauma, or ricochet around perforating the intestines leaving a bloody mess to patch up and weeks of recovery to get to the dischargable stage. Infection is always a problem.

You are looking at major surgery and recovery time for most scenarios.


I have a second question which may be tougher to answer. I've heard on the news about people being shot in the throat, and being relatively fine afterwards. How does this happen, and what would be the maximum caliber bullet that some one could take to the throat and not die?

Small caliber bullet, or larger caliber with a ricochet ... and again, it matters WHAT the bullet hits. Hit the carotid artery or the jugular vein and it's all over unless you have someone standing there ready to help.