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icyflames
07-13-2010, 10:05 PM
My MC gets stabbed in the forearm with a kitchen knife. What should realistically happen to him? For example, will he feel pain right away, or will he be too stunned? What will the wound look like, without going into too many gory details? How should the wound be treated? There are no doctors or anything like that available, just a basic first aid kit. If the wound is treated properly, how long will it take to heal? When someone gets stabbed, what would they experience in the next few minutes? Anything else I should know?

Thanks so much!

Shakesbear
07-13-2010, 10:57 PM
Um ... which part of the fore arm? Kitchen knives vary in length and width - could you be more specific? And how deep is the wound?

A neighbour of mine was stabbed in the fore arm with a kitchen knife, the blade was about six inches long. His wife was pissed with him and threw the knife at him. He was taken to hospital and had several stitches - some of them were sub cutaneous - under the skin? - as the blade had caused damage to the muscle. He bled a lot - maybe because he took the knife out to throw it at her.

Drachen Jager
07-13-2010, 11:02 PM
A lot depends on where and what angle in the forearm. If the knife tip penetrates bone there's a really strong ache kind of feeling, otherwise the pain would be about what you'd expect. If it was really serious he'd go into shock pretty quickly which would dull the pain. Part of how he feels depends on the lead-up. If it was an accident that caught him by surprise the pain would likely be more severe sooner whereas if he was stabbed on purpose and saw it coming he'd have already been full of adrenalin and probably wouldn't notice as much (soldiers in combat sometimes don't realize when they've been shot for a few seconds).

If in a high stress situation he'd still be able to function normally for a while or until the situation resolved (except of course if tendons were cut).

As for healing, it depends on what was cut. If it's just muscle and he was stitched up properly he'd have use of the arm in a limited fashion immediately, recovering almost completely within a couple of weeks. If the tendons were cut he might never recover use of the fingers they led to without surgery.

Also, stabbed? If this was an attack on him the likelihood of being STABBED in the forearm is very slim. More likely he'd be slashed, just think of how small a target it is, with things moving and such, much more likely to catch the edge of the blade.

icyflames
07-13-2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks to both, that was very helpful :)

He wasn't moving, and his eyes were closed and he was concentrating on something (it's urban fantasy, so yeah), so he wasn't aware of someone sneaking up on him until he actually got stabbed.

Also, I know next to nothing about stitches. Would anyone be able to tell me any details about it? For instance, would someone who's done regular sewing before be able to stitch up a wound? Would stitches hurt, or would the pain be extremely minimal compared to the pain of the stab wound?

PeterL
07-13-2010, 11:35 PM
If the knife just went straight in and out, and it was as sharp as kitchen knives should be, then he flet little from the stab itself. There would be a cut the size of the blade that wouldn't bleed badly, unless it hit an artery or a major vein. I have had slashes of this sort, and I was perfectly capable of handling them myself. Many people think that they will die if they don't have a physician handle every little pain, and those people would have to be taken to a physician. Something like that will heal by itself without treatment, as long as it does not become infected.

Nivarion
07-14-2010, 01:01 AM
what type of kitchen knife are we talking here?

Cause I've got a three inch paring knife and a nine inch chefs knife. One would do a hell of a lot more damage than the other.

icyflames
07-14-2010, 02:08 AM
Thanks, PeterL! :)

Nivarion: 8" Chef's knife.

Nivarion
07-14-2010, 02:16 AM
Okay. Guestimating off of my chefs knives, it should have about a two to three inch forte.

which part of the arm is it going into, where is the attacker standing in relation, how is he holding the knife (up or down, bevel towards or away) and which arm is being stabbed.

And how far in is it going?

The left arm has larger arteries than the right. The upper arm has less bone. You could actually die from a good stab in the arm, or barely feel it.

And finally, is the knife removed after he's been stabbed, or is it left in?

Drachen Jager
07-14-2010, 03:09 AM
Okay. Guestimating off of my chefs knives, it should have about a two to three inch forte.

Heel you mean? There is no "forte" on a knife, that's what it's called on a sword.

icyflames
07-14-2010, 03:14 AM
He gets stabbed in the right forearm. The attacker is next to him (on his right), and the knife is held down. (I don't know what "bevel towards" or "bevel away" is, and Google didn't really seem to help.) It doesn't go in very far, and it's pulled out right after.

backslashbaby
07-14-2010, 03:30 AM
Stitches hurt pretty well without numbing. I had some in my hand once and the lidocaine in the shot was a dud somehow for many minutes (I was back in the car before it got numb at all). Stitches feel a lot like someone taking a needle and sewing on you ;)

It's that kind of pain where you can take it fine, but you squirm a ton (or want to) while it's being done because it's such a sharp, sharp feeling.

LoopyLinde
07-14-2010, 05:06 AM
Also, I know next to nothing about stitches. Would anyone be able to tell me any details about it? For instance, would someone who's done regular sewing before be able to stitch up a wound? Would stitches hurt, or would the pain be extremely minimal compared to the pain of the stab wound?

I had stitches in my hand when I was eight. The doctor used a curved needle with thick, black, waxy looking thread. Each stitch was singular, knotted on each side, not connected and continuous like sewing clothing.

It was extremely painful. Because it was only three stitches I wasn't given any kind of numbing. Afterward I had no fear of the tetanus shot since I thought if I can survive that a stupid little needle is nothing.

Canotila
07-14-2010, 06:57 AM
I slashed my wrist in art class once (always cut away). It was 3/4 of an inch deep and sliced the length of the wrist like a classic suicide cut.

Honestly I didn't realize how bad it was at first. The blade slipped, and it stung. Then I looked down and there was a gaping hole with blood welling it in. And then it started to bleed everywhere. It was kind of surreal, slow motion feeling, and I was in a daze. I remember holding a kleenex over it, walking up to the teacher and asking for a bandaide.

They got me to a hospital. When the doctor started cleaning it up I told her not to give me a shot because I didn't have health insurance. So she put in 11 stitches without the local anesthetic. It really didn't hurt. It felt weird, like you could feel the needle poking through and the thread pulling through, and then the skin pulling as she put the stitches in, but it didn't hurt any worse than the actual wound.

The whole time the wound had a dull achy feeling. The next day was when the sharp stinging pains started, and it itched like you would not believe. Can't remember how long the stitches were in for.

If it's a slash, vs. a deep puncture your character might be able to do a good job using butterfly bandages.

shaldna
07-14-2010, 03:21 PM
I managed to stab myself through the arm with a veterinary scalpal once (long story)

aside from the initial blood it was pretty clean. I got a couple of stitches but that was about it. but then a scalpal is thinner than a klitchen knife.

Also, a handy hint I learned from my time treating show horses is to help a surface wound to heal faster is to dab a little vasaline on the scab, it keeps the scab soft and helps prevent cracking and scarring.

GeorgeK
07-14-2010, 09:18 PM
The left arm has larger arteries than the right. The upper arm has less bone.



Actually there is no statistical difference between right and left for the same individual assuming normal anatomy

GeorgeK
07-14-2010, 09:21 PM
He gets stabbed in the right forearm. The attacker is next to him (on his right), and the knife is held down. (I don't know what "bevel towards" or "bevel away" is, and Google didn't really seem to help.) It doesn't go in very far, and it's pulled out right after.

There are too many variables to say what would happen with this information. That may be a good thing in that you could do pretty much whatever you want provided you keep it this vague. The one caveat is without medical attention, your charater would be best to not sew it up. Knife wounds are likely to be dirty. Sewing over a dirty wound will cause an abcess. They'd be best off with a clean bandage changed at least twice a day and letting it heal on its own.

icyflames
07-14-2010, 09:23 PM
Thanks very much to all the people who've answered! I think I know enough now to write the scene. All of you were really helpful =)

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-14-2010, 10:58 PM
My MC gets stabbed in the forearm with a kitchen knife. What should realistically happen to him?

What does the plot need to happen, and how much gore do you need?

Give me that and I'll tell you where to hurt him.

Sam M
07-15-2010, 02:15 PM
There is a muscle in the forearm called the "extensor digitorum". It controls grip and finger movement, and if it were nicked or damaged in any way, your character could lose the ability to move his/her fingers.

There are three main tubes (i.e. arteries and veins) which run the length of your arm. These are the brachial artery, the cephalic vein, and the basilic vein. They branch off towards the bottom of your wrist to create more veins, but those are the ones which reside at the position of your forearm. The brachial artery is flanked by the two others (i.e. it sits in the middle). If you cut this vein, game over. Forget about clamping the wound, calling a doctor, it doesn't matter. The brachial artery pumps more blood than any other artery in the body, save for the femoral or the carotid. It's an almost-definite kill.

With a knife, and depending on the size, you're going to hit at least one of those three major tubes. If you want your character to survive, it needs to be any one except the brachial.

Hope this helps.

Nivarion
07-15-2010, 08:40 PM
Heel you mean? There is no "forte" on a knife, that's what it's called on a sword.

I leaned it tip, middle, heel and foible, median, forte. They really mean about the same thing anyways.

:D Besides, you knew what I was talking about.


He gets stabbed in the right forearm. The attacker is next to him (on his right), and the knife is held down. (I don't know what "bevel towards" or "bevel away" is, and Google didn't really seem to help.) It doesn't go in very far, and it's pulled out right after.

The bevel is the sharpened part. The way you describe their standing, if its towards the attacker, the knife will slip in cleanly. If its away from him its going to slice as it goes in making a larger wound, and again as it comes out because your body applies forward force as well. (Unless you're trying to apply backwards force, and then its reversed.)

If you cut an artery and leave the knife in, it blocks off most of the blood and makes the injury less severe since you don't get cut and mangled again as it comes out.

So he's gonna bleed a lot for sure. If the blade goes in about two/three inches into the center of the forearm there will be blood and pain but he should survive it so long and he puts direct pressure on it as soon as he can.


Actually there is no statistical difference between right and left for the same individual assuming normal anatomy

George is the surgeon. :D I looked it up again and yeah, I was way off on that.

Now I'm gonna have to try and remember where I learned that from... It's gonna bug me.