View Full Version : Medical injury question

04-25-2010, 07:17 AM
Let's say that twice a day, from the age of five or so, you cut the palm of your hand. Not deeply, just enough to draw blood. (religious cult thing)

By the time you've hit adulthood, what's that scar going to look like? Or is it even ever going to have a chance to scar over? Assume decent hygiene and minimal infection potential.

04-25-2010, 01:03 PM
Depends on the length of the cut a little. You might get away with a pinprick or a nick, but probably not a longer cut.

A neat scar requires two clean edges of skin that are close together and allowed to heal.

There's a practice amongst some less than savory people of mounting two blades next to each other, a few mm to a cm apart, done exactly because if you cut the skin into ribbons it's incredibley difficult to stitch and the four skin edges will not be held together well. The injury is very likely to leave a nasty scar.

Multiple cuts in the same area will be a complete mess. You'd need a surgeon's precision to open the wound time after time along the same line to prevent a ribboning effect, or if the cuts crossed each other at different angles you'll end up with a whole load of loose skin flaps.

I'd put my money on the whole area being a bloody and infected mess in short order....especially on the palm of a five year old. The area is going to be flexed whenever the hand is used, and I've yet to meet a five year old who could keep their hands clean, never mind care for a wound well.

Even if you somehow manage to keep the wound clean, the skin, if it somehow manages to heal is going to become stiff and lose it's flexibility. There's a very good chance that function in the hand is going to be compromised.

You'd have a better chance of being able to pull this off if you move the cuts to a more stable, less mobile piece of skin away from the hand.

04-26-2010, 07:17 PM
Assuming no magical healing and always in the same place, this would likely keloid long before adulhood and the palmar surface of the hand is rather unforgiving to keloids. Look up dupuytrens contractures. (somehow that spelling seems off)

Trying to get blood through scar tissue will gradually each time require deeper and larger cuts. Gradually those areas suffer poore wound healing. That's why in surgery we often will excise old scars if we have to go through the same place

04-26-2010, 07:33 PM
There's a nerve ganglion in the center of the palm. cutting that will affect control of the person's fingers. I sliced my palm and that's what the doctor was most concerned about. Once he determined the nerves weren't damaged, he sent me on my way, no stitches, just a dressing. I have a fine white scar as a reminder of the event.

04-27-2010, 09:42 PM

The cutting thing can't be excised (*grin*) from the story, but I'll try to think of a better place for it. Any suggestions?

04-27-2010, 10:09 PM

The cutting thing can't be excised (*grin*) from the story, but I'll try to think of a better place for it. Any suggestions?
Back of the forearm? The skin is thinner so a light scratch can draw blood rather than a deep cut. As long as they can scrape anywhere in the area, it gives a little bit of time for the older scratches to heal. If you do that for years though, you will probably still get a build up of scar tissue, but it won't restrict function as much as the palm.

Edited to add: I just found this image (http://wftx.images.worldnow.com/images/6455167_SS.jpg)which apparently shows the effect of teenage cutting over a long period. It might be something similar to what you are looking for, but your character's arm would be more torn up.

04-28-2010, 01:40 AM
There's no good place to cut time after time, but back of the forearm is as good as any. Couple of months or a couple of years of cutting and anywhere is going to get messed up.

In the real world, some diabetics need to test their blood sugar regularly and they usually prick their fingers with a needle. It draws out a drop of blood but nothing dramatic. Despends why you want the blood really and how much you need shed. :evil

To allow proper healing, you need to move the cuts around. You could always come up with some elaborate ritual that starts with cutting the finger to symbolise touching whatever god/man/wererabbit is at the centre of the cult, and then visits a whole load of other sites to symbolise listening to them, taking them into your heart, shouldering their burden and so on before returning to the first site after the area has had chance to heal. My imagination would struggle to come up with enough good reasons to cut the number of sites needed though.

Or you could have the cult assign status to the scars. Having a badly scarred body could give someone status within the cult and you could happily mangle areas of skin that would be hidden under clothes for ages if you could convince someone tha scarring brought them closer to the wererabbit.


04-28-2010, 01:44 AM
Basically, the religion here is focused very much on sacrifice (you don't want to know what they do to the priests every week!), and so blood needs to be shed on the altar morning and night.

Pricking the finger would probably work; it really doesn't have to be a great quantity of blood.

Also do like the status thing; that one I will definitely consider.

04-28-2010, 01:54 AM
So you're not sold on the wererabbit bit then?

04-28-2010, 01:58 AM
Can you come up with a competent and logical explanation of how the Christian religion mutated into a wererabbit cult? :tongue

04-28-2010, 02:04 AM
Mass delirium from septicemia due to lots of wound infections?

04-28-2010, 02:06 AM
I think that might push this from satire to the absurd.

04-28-2010, 02:09 AM
I think that might push this from satire to the absurd.

Well, I've got the plot of my next story sorted out if you don't want the idea.

04-28-2010, 03:24 AM
Hell, go right ahead. :tongue