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View Full Version : Yet another bullet meet shoulder question...



raburrell
09-16-2009, 08:13 PM
I searched threads, and read what's here, and I'm mulling over a few scenarios. I need my MC walking for a brief period after getting shot, even if in a severely diminished capacity, and retaining use of his arm afterwards (afterwards meaning eventually, not at the time of injury).

Anyone willing to offer opinions on any of the three scenarios in the poll? (or the fourth.)

What I'm interested in is viability of the choices above, or an appropriate gun type to accomplish if you really want to go ahead and make my day, so to speak. I'm also wondering whether in the first case (humerus), the only realistic thing would be for the bone to shatter into a gazillion pieces.
eta: Hits in the lower body, etc aren't going to work for the rest of the scene - His upper body needs to be somewhat incapacitated.

Setting is 1990's Russia, shooting is at a range of 6 feet or so.

RJK
09-16-2009, 09:09 PM
Shoot him through the meat of the forearm, missing the radius and ulna. It will put his arm and hand out of action for quite a while.

raburrell
09-16-2009, 09:18 PM
Thanks, RJK - Unfortunately, I might need something a little worse than that. (Not that I'd want to volunteer for either option, but...) I'm pondering the idea of a richochet hit into the deltoid instead of straight-on shot now.

GeorgeK
09-16-2009, 10:07 PM
If you want a big meaty area where they'll be incapacitated for a few weeks, but miss things vital, try a thigh hit. Ooops she was shooting at his other thing and assumed he'd been gravely wounded when he fell moaning and gasping for air.

raburrell
09-16-2009, 10:10 PM
If you want a big meaty area where they'll be incapacitated for a few weeks, but miss things vital, try a thigh hit. Ooops she was shooting at his other thing and assumed he'd been gravely wounded when he fell moaning and gasping for air.

Unfortunately, it's a bad guy doing the shooting and the problem is that I need the MC's upper body incapacitated, but not the lower.
eta: thank you for the reply.

GeorgeK
09-16-2009, 10:29 PM
In that case I suggest the bullet passes through the skin webbing under/at the armpit. Assuming the character is clothed, there will be plenty of blood stains on the shirt, but vital organs and muscles will have been missed. Now as part of your research I instruct you to go to bars and examine womens' armpits.


"But really it's research for a book!"

Slapp

raburrell
09-16-2009, 10:37 PM
In that case I suggest the bullet passes through the skin webbing under/at the armpit. Assuming the character is clothed, there will be plenty of blood stains on the shirt, but vital organs and muscles will have been missed. Now as part of your research I instruct you to go to bars and examine womens' armpits.


"But really it's research for a book!"

Slapp

LMAO. I have women's armpits of my own, thank you. (And poor MC is a guy.)

I've been staring at shoulder plates until my eyes cross in Gray's anatomy (muscles, nerves, bones, arteries, etc). Gah. I could just dislocated his shoulder instead, but having done that myself a gazillion times, it's manageable. I need the injury not to be.

PeterL
09-16-2009, 11:41 PM
If you want an injury that would put an arm out of action, then have his collarbone get broken. It wouldn't incapitate him, but it would make that arm unusable for weeks.

raburrell
09-16-2009, 11:53 PM
I do appreciate the "do something else" thoughts, but at the moment, they're making me realize why I haven't changed it - The MC is a priest, and has to immediately kill the guy who shot him for reasons that further the plot. (i.e. taking a life is a really huge deal for this character... getting shot is a split-second thing that he has to react to, and if he gets killed, a bunch of other people die. Has a bit of a savior complex.)

Shattuck
09-17-2009, 08:29 AM
Well part of this depends on how long you are looking for your MC to be incapacitated. You also need to realize that a bullet won't "pierce" bones, but essentially shatters or pulps them. A shot from close range to the scapula would very likely lead to your MC losing the use of his arm for a very long time, if not permanently (especially with no medical treatment), and would also result in pretty decent blood loss.

Personally, I don't think the "shoulder shot" is a cliche in and of itself; what usually gets overplayed is the idea that the shot misses anything vital and is only a temporary inconvenience. Obviously with the amount of bone, important muscle, and arteries in that area, you can see how unlikely that is. My personal suggestion would be to have the bullet shatter your MC's clavicle. It hurts like hell but relatively speaking it is not a particularly life-threatening injury as long as your MC has some degree of treatment available, even if it is very limited or do-it-yourself. A shattered clavicle also rarely leads to permanent disfigurement or a loss of use, and has a higher chance of healing properly without requiring re-setting, pinning, or any other invasive surgery.

If there are any surgeons on here they can probably give you some more specific information, I am only speaking from the experience of having my own clavicle broken (not by a bullet thankfully).

Nivarion
09-17-2009, 09:37 AM
Make it go through the deltoid or straps. He'll be out of use for that arm until it heals, but it would only be a flesh wound. To the untrained eye it would look pretty bad too. Especially the straps, since they are right at the base of the neck.

raburrell
09-17-2009, 04:53 PM
Well part of this depends on how long you are looking for your MC to be incapacitated. You also need to realize that a bullet won't "pierce" bones, but essentially shatters or pulps them. A shot from close range to the scapula would very likely lead to your MC losing the use of his arm for a very long time, if not permanently (especially with no medical treatment), and would also result in pretty decent blood loss.

Thanks - yes, I do understand the physics of cavitation, to an extent - that's why I was thinking of the clavicle shot as well. The healing time itself isn't so much of an issue, as there's a significant time jump in the story itself once the MC has dealt with the immediate situation. He does receive fairly prompt medical care as well (well within the so-called 'golden hour').


Personally, I don't think the "shoulder shot" is a cliche in and of itself; what usually gets overplayed is the idea that the shot misses anything vital and is only a temporary inconvenience.

Thank you - this helps. I think it's written realistically in terms of the limitations it imposes on him going forward, both immediately and in the months-later scene that follows. It's not like he pulls the bullet out with his teeth and carries the heroine off to bed or anything like that :ROFL:.



Make it go through the deltoid or straps. He'll be out of use for that arm until it heals, but it would only be a flesh wound. To the untrained eye it would look pretty bad too. Especially the straps, since they are right at the base of the neck.
I'm going to see how the rest of the scene plays out in the rewrite, then will decide between the delt and clavicle.

Thanks!