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Canotila
02-24-2011, 07:02 AM
So, there isn't much information out there on treating arrow wounds, them not being so common any more.

Here is the scenario:

Character is shot in the knee and thigh. The arrows are tipped with steel broadheads. The knee arrow hits gristle and bone, and ends up with the widest part of the head outside the skin. That's not too hard to remove and take care of.

The thigh arrow has to be removed by pushing it out the other side. It avoids bone and major arteries, but does cut a nasty channel through the thigh muscle.

How would one go about cauterizing the thigh wound? If you cauterized both openings would that be bad? Such as prevent the wound from draining or something? Would the inside of the muscle keep bleeding? They want it to not bleed, but at the same time are trying to do the thing that makes the most sense. They also sterilized the arrow with alcohol before shoving it through in hopes that would help with infection.

The knee injury I'm guessing is more straightforward, right? If not, please let me know. He's going to end up with a super screwed up knee anyway.

And this is a field injury, miles from help or doctors. They're just hoping to keep him alive long enough to drag him back to camp.

BySharonNelson
02-24-2011, 07:05 AM
Wound treatment will depend on the time period and location. Where and when is this?

Canotila
02-24-2011, 07:39 AM
It's in a fantasy world so there's some flexibility. They've got civil war era technology minus the guns, but their medicine is more slightly WWI minus the understanding of germs. They are aware of germs and that doing certain things prevent gangrene and stuff, but they don't know that micro organisms exist. Just that some invisible force causes illness and decay, and some things nullify it.

alleycat
02-24-2011, 07:48 AM
I can't really answer your question, but supposedly the American Indians used to cauterize wounds, and then use some kind of herbal salve to treat the burn. You might be able to look up some information on this.



(Notice my signature.)

Canotila
02-24-2011, 08:03 AM
Ack! Well, he is pretty adorable. *Adds a rep*

alleycat
02-24-2011, 08:04 AM
Well, he's only got a few days left. I usually change my avatar on the weekend.

BySharonNelson
02-24-2011, 08:06 AM
So they normally would not close a wound that deep by cauterizing becuse it would seal in infection. I know during WW1 they would pour gunpowder into the wounds to stop the bleeding. Kind of an odd fact but it is what they would sometimes do in the field that practice dates back several hundred years. There are also several herbs that would stop bleeding tho I cant remember the names off the top of my head. Normally they would treat and bind tightly then once back to civilization they would clean and stitch. Normally there would be some kind of infection with a wound that bad. Hope some of that helps :)

Drachen Jager
02-24-2011, 08:59 AM
Traditionally for those times, if the medic knew what they were doing, they would put boiling wine on the injury. That was about the best they had for antiseptic. Cauterization doesn't really matter, it's only relevant when blood loss would be an issue.

Canotila
02-24-2011, 09:13 AM
Thanks! That's really helpful actually. The wounded guy is their captain, and he'd know the right way to treat a wound like that. And he keeps a good sized flask of brandy in his pack (purely for emergency use of course!).

Drachen Jager
02-24-2011, 09:32 AM
Brandy would be even better, if it was high enough proof you wouldn't need to boil it.

KQ800
03-03-2011, 01:48 PM
Character is shot in the knee and thigh. The arrows are tipped with steel broadheads.

The thigh arrow has to be removed by pushing it out the other side. It avoids bone and major arteries, but does cut a nasty channel through the thigh muscle.

How would one go about cauterizing the thigh wound?

The knee injury I'm guessing is more straightforward, right? If not, please let me know. .

An arrow wound from broadheads is treated like a deep puncture wound. In the field, you keep the object in the wound and bandage around it to contain the bleeding. Immobilize the limb and transport to competent medical aid.

Alcohol for cleaning the wound is good. If the wound is through and through (like the thigh) you might want tosterilixe the shaft as you said, and push if further through to get alcohol deeper into the wound.

Modern Gunpowder for cleaning wounds is not good at all. Cordite is poisonous. Old time gunpowder is not that great either (sulphur) but if you have pure charcoal available, that might actually work to prevent infection.

Fresh urine works well for cleaning wounds if you have no alcohol, clean water or disinfectant but is unusual as a treatment. Probably because human waste is thought to be unclean.

DO NO CAUTERIZE if you can stop the bleeding through bandaging. The only thing that does is stop the wound from draining and at worst gives him gangrene. The only time burning is good is when the patient will otherwise die from bleeding.

When removing the shaft, the wound must likely be opened up and cleaned to make sure there are no pieces left inside. Basically, they use a tool that spreads the wound channel, and then run a cleaning rod through the wound with clean rags and alcohol.

Note, during the vietnam war some soldiers stepped on barbed spikes covered with feces. According to Colin Powells memoirs, the treatment in the field was to push gauze straight through the wound and pour antiseptic on it while "pulling it back and forth like a shoeshiners rag" to prevent infection. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

The knee is imho very tricky. You have sinews crossing around the knee, and a kind of gristle shock damper inside the knee (Menisk in swedish) so to get it out without cutting things up any more, you probably will need "spoons". they are surgical instruments that look like longhandled spoons that match the size of the arrow head. You push them in along the shaft until they cover the arrowhead and the cutting edges. Then you can pull it out.

Any cut sinews will probably lead to a leg that folds over when he tries to walk. Damage to the interior of the knee will likely result in varying degrees of pain when he uses the leg for walking, but he might still be able to ride functionally even if he has to walk with a cane. Infection inside the knee could easily develop gangrene and need for amputation. He will have to have a good doctor and luck on his side.

If the damage inside the knee is grave the doctor from WWi might opt to perform surgery and nailing the femur to the lower leg bones. Making it impossible to bend the knee, but allowing him to walk and stand.

icerose
03-03-2011, 07:38 PM
There are also plants that can help stop the bleeding and prevent infection. Check out herbalism as a possibility as well and with fantasy you could make up your own plants to minimize research.

MeretSeger
03-03-2011, 08:41 PM
In the movie Two Mules for Sister Sarah, Clint Eastwood has her cut a groove in the arrow, fill it with gunpowder, and then light it so it shoots the arrow through him, cauterizing through the entire wound all the way through. Must have worked, he lived ;)

Honey was a well-used wound treatment in the ancient world, and has been shown to have antibiotic properties (since there's so much of it in beehives, it makes sense, since one bacteria could kill off the whole hive otherwise). Speeds healing, too.

KQ800
03-03-2011, 11:16 PM
In the movie Two Mules for Sister Sarah, Clint Eastwood has her cut a groove in the arrow, fill it with gunpowder, and then light it so it shoots the arrow through him, cauterizing through the entire wound all the way through. Must have worked, he lived ;)

Honey was a well-used wound treatment in the ancient world, and has been shown to have antibiotic properties (since there's so much of it in beehives, it makes sense, since one bacteria could kill off the whole hive otherwise). Speeds healing, too.

The antibiotics of honey is due to it's sugar content. Apparently most bacteria cannot handle sugary solutions and this leads to their membranes dissolving.

Molasses or syrup should work, but don't try it unless desperate. I'm assuming here.

MeretSeger
03-04-2011, 11:11 PM
The antibiotics of honey is due to it's sugar content. Apparently most bacteria cannot handle sugary solutions and this leads to their membranes dissolving.

Molasses or syrup should work, but don't try it unless desperate. I'm assuming here.

Interesting, because sugars can reduce swelling when applied! I guess it affects human cell membranes as well. I would stick with honey, though. I'm knowledgeable on the ancient Egyptian medical system, and they were specific to honey. Must have had a reason after all those millenia of observation... (Of course, these are the same folks who made diaphrams out of croc dung! Which likely worked if only by keeping a beau away...)