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debirlfan
02-23-2010, 02:34 AM
My character is going to be shot in the gut (a couple inches below the belt line) and mortally wounded. He is CIA, has been shot before, and is the rather sturdy sort, so while he initially realizes he has been hit, he is going to return fire and kill his assailant before collapsing to the ground. As he does, he realizes he is surrounded by a pool of his own blood, and looks down to see that he has a serious/gaping wound.

I need my character to take one look at the wound, and immediately know that it's lethal and that he's going to die. I would like him to remain conscious for perhaps 5 minutes after the initial wound, and be unconscious but still alive (barely) perhaps 10 minutes after that when a second character arrives.

What's the best way of doing this? My initial thought was that he'd been hit by a hollow-point bullet, but my research suggests that a hollow point would form a relatively small entry wound, and either remain inside the victim or cause a larger exit wound? Do I need to change the type of ammo, or would it be reasonable for the bullet to have entered one side of his abdomen, and exited the other side causing the larger wound? I'm assuming that blood vessels were hit, and blood may be flowing freely or spurting from the wound?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Stanmiller
02-23-2010, 04:32 AM
:evil Evil Gun Geek here...

Abdominal wounds aren't that lethal. Here's some numbers from a Houston TX hospital report.

300 patients with abdominal wounds, overall survival rate for the series was 88.3%; however, if only the 226 patients without vascular (blood vessel) injuries are considered, the survival rate was 97.3%.

Rapid conservative operative techniques for civilian gunshot wounds leads to few postoperative complications and an excellent survival rate, especially if vascular injuries are not present.

Timewise, from the time of the wound to emergency room admittance, could be an hour or better. IMO...maybe you want your guy to get shot in the leg, clipping the femoral artery. That will bleed the poor guy out in the time you've allotted for him.

"Serious bleeding from the femoral artery must be properly treated immediately. A few minutes can be all that is necessary for the wound to guarantee permanent disability such as brain damage or the need for amputation. A wound to the upper femoral artery caused by a direct shot from a heavy rifle slug is likely to kill within ten minutes." --From Wikianswers

Hope this helps.

Stan

ColoradoGuy
02-23-2010, 05:33 AM
You could make it work. The only wound of that sort that would be obviously lethal unless dealt with immediately would be an injury to one of the large vessels, such as the aorta, which lies at the back of the abdominal cavity. If your aorta is shot through you die in seconds. You could partially injure it, though, making the bleeding a bit slower. If you did that there would be blood everywhere but it still would take him a few minutes to bleed out. The bigger the hole in the artery, the more rapid the death.

Another scenario would be a large aortic injury that, at least for a minute or two, seals itself off in the surrounding tissues -- not an uncommon event. After your character does what he needs to do, the temporary seal blows off and he quickly bleeds to death.

Fenika
02-23-2010, 05:52 AM
Yeah, I was gonna say aorta or below the aortic bifurcation based on the location. :)

However, I have a hard time believing anyone with a 'large' hole is going to remain standing on impact. Functional after falling and a brief moment of 'shock', yes. Legs braced and gun hand out and steady, no. If nothing else, a 'large' ('medium'?) hole will make you curl partial toward fetal and stumble back at least a step, like a nasty punch.

Monkey
02-23-2010, 06:57 AM
However, I have a hard time believing anyone with a 'large' hole is going to remain standing on impact.

Maybe he could fire as he falls, and some combination of luck and skill means that his shot still hits, although perhaps not exactly where he was aiming?

debirlfan
02-23-2010, 08:15 AM
Hmm, I may have to re-think this a bit. I suppose that he might have a smaller wound and just realize he was dying due to how badly he was bleeding (I sort of hate to go that direction when he nearly bled to death from a GSW some years earlier - I wanted to do something a little different). Or he might be knocked down/drop his weapon from the initial impact, but then pick it up again and shoot the bad guy as bad guy approaches to see if he's dead?

Mostly, I want the character to be absolutely (and correctly) convinced he's dying - and I need him unconscious but still (barely) alive when the second character arrives a short time later - the times can be adjusted somewhat if needed. (Character actually does survive, but only because of a sci-fi element to the story.)

ColoradoGuy
02-23-2010, 08:22 PM
Medicine really is an inexact science, full of unexpected twists. I've been practicing intensive/critical care for 30 years and still get surprised now and then by what happens. Do whatever your plot requires and don't worry about the medical details so much. Your readers really won't care if it's a good story.

RJK
02-24-2010, 12:09 AM
A shot to the lower abdomen that clips the aorta will cause him to bleed out. A shot to the chest above the diaphragm, may cause collapsed lungs, preventing him from breathing. These wounds need to have the air released from the plural sac in order for the lungs to inflate. If that's not done, it's good night Irene.

Tsu Dho Nimh
02-24-2010, 01:12 AM
As he does, he realizes he is surrounded by a pool of his own blood, and looks down to see that he has a serious/gaping wound. Not typical of abdominal wounds. Looking at the hole and being too weak to stand up would let him know he's in deep doo-doo.

Abdominal wounds don't tend to spurt or even bleed much because there is a lot of room in the abdominal cavity. I can remember several patients whose friends didn't realize they were badly hurt until they passed out ... some of them were too far gone for the major trauma center to bring back. One of them was shot with a 22 caliber pistol that happened to hit the right/wrong spot. You don't need firepower to kill someone.

I need my character to take one look at the wound, and immediately know that it's lethal and that he's going to die. I would like him to remain conscious for perhaps 5 minutes after the initial wound, and be unconscious but still alive (barely) perhaps 10 minutes after that when a second character arrives.

Any damage to a largish vein in there can make him bleed out ... not enough blood in the pipes and the pump (heart) stops working ... hypovolemic shock sets in and he dies. He would get weaker and weaker, but stay coherent for 1-30 minutes, depending on the rate of blood leakage.

He could take a look or feel the impact and think, "I'm in deep doo-doo if it hit an artery" and proceed to act as if it were going to be fatal until he gets weak.

debirlfan
02-24-2010, 09:58 AM
Thanks, all. Will play around with this a bit.