View Full Version : Massive physical trauma leading to death

05-25-2010, 09:22 PM
Hi -- I'm working on a scene where a character (not my MC) is dying from massive physical trauma. What type of trauma, I'm trying to figure out as the wound would have to be something that would be something that would not kill immediately, leaving a person conscious and aware that their last moments on earth are going to be excruciatingly painful and miserable with death the only respite. (I swear, there's a real reason for this but man I am starting to feel bad for my MC!)

I need to know what type of wound can do this and what are the physical symptoms (aside from the obvious pain) of shock? Thanks!

05-25-2010, 09:34 PM
A hard enough blow to the stomach can rupture multiple organs inside, as well as causing severe hernia of the abdominal wall.

If enough things get broken they'll bleed out at a pretty quick rate, and if they don't immediately pass out from it and their spine is not broken, both are possible, they'll suffer horribly their last few minutes.

And for hard enough blow, I'm talking really hard. Like falling off a building and landing on a stair rail.

I saw a story like that on Scarred (the show on MTv) where BMX motorcyclist doing big jumps came down too hard on his front wheels and got thrown into his handle bars, and got this type of injury.

They had to cut him open from the point of his breast bone to his groin to fix the damage, and he only had a couple of things break.

05-25-2010, 09:42 PM
Ouch, thanks for the info. If there were a laceration, how fast would a bleed out be? (Shuddering just thinking about it.)

05-25-2010, 11:46 PM
Ouch, thanks for the info. If there were a laceration, how fast would a bleed out be? (Shuddering just thinking about it.)

It would depend upon what actually was severed and how it was severed. For internal bleeding, people have been known to die anywhere from a few minutes to a month from a ruptured spleen.

05-25-2010, 11:49 PM
A large scale concussive force would do it. It can cause extensive internal organ damage, almost like putting the organs in a blender and leave the outer body almost untouched (unless there's shrapnel involved).

This would be someone in a confined area where a charge went off and instead of the blast killing them, their body's hit by a the force wave itself as it travels through the air. If there's a solid wall, that will stop the movement of their body, but otherwise, they're flung until the momentum runs out. The organs take the brunt of the force.

People in shock will be cold, convulse, babble, and are very susceptible to suggestion. It's like their brain's on reboot.

Drachen Jager
05-27-2010, 08:34 PM
Yeah, I'm with the above two if you want it drawn out. Abdominal injuries take hours to days to kill a person unless there's a major blood vessel opened.

Lung injuries can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so, depending on the type of injury. A collapsed lung will kill within a few minutes and is supposed to be agonizing.

It really depends on what kind of weapons or accident is available. If we're talking swords and sandals then a good cut to the abdomen is probably your best bet. If you're talking firearms or arrows then a much wider range of injury is possible. Crushing type injuries give an even wider extent to the possibilities.

05-27-2010, 09:17 PM
Watch the scene in Unforgiven where they gutshot a man.

05-28-2010, 08:02 PM
And if you're in a time where there's no guns/explosives available. It's hard to beat a mule kick to the gut for concentrated force. It's more than enough to rupture organs or even the abdominal aorta.

Kathie Freeman
05-28-2010, 08:46 PM
A collapsed lung will kill within a few minutes and is supposed to be agonizing.

Not necessarily. My husband was shot in the shoulder some years ago, and the bullet severed the main artery in his shoulder, ricocheted off his scapula and passed though his left lung. It was agonizing alright, but his danger of death was from blood loss, not the collapsed lung. He had a large drainage tube into his chest for a couple of days.