View Full Version : Death by Wrist Slitting - Realistic Scenario?

04-11-2011, 05:50 AM
Picture a man about 6 foot tall and 260ish pounds in weight.

He's suspended by his wrists, naked, and in a storage room that really isn't neither warm or cold.

The murderer, after beating the victim with a rod in the thighs and torso (there may or not be internal bleeding - haven't decided yet, but looking for suggestions), slits both of the victim's wrists cross-ways (the slower bleeding way if you are slitting your wrist for suicide reasons).

Basically, I .. errr, I should say, the murderer wants the victim to suffer and take a few hours to bleed to death.

Is my scenario realistic?

I tried researching online times to bleed but the answers have been vague and not by reputable sources.

04-11-2011, 05:56 AM
Well, if I wanted the victim to suffer, I would make lots of small cuts rather than one or two large ones in a main artery. Possibly using a rusty and not very sharp utility knife. ;-)

04-11-2011, 05:57 AM
I started to argue with you about time frame, but now that I'm thinking about it, I just wanted to say this sounds icky.

I don't mind ick. I read horror, after all. However, I'm not entirely certain what you're going for here. If it's a crime scene and the victim is found later, you don't need much in the way of detail. They'll figure the time of death, and just looking at the body would tell the detectives that the killer wanted him to suffer.

Personally, I'd sum it up quick and easy. I'm not a big fan of gore for shock value, and this sounds like it could easily fall into that category if you aren't careful.

If you're describing the crime scene, you could do a quick taking stock of the condition of the body. I think it's obvious from the rods and the torture that the victim was supposed to suffer so you don't need to really deal too much with the blood and time issues. If you're describing the murder before the police get there...well, I don't know. I'd just lean on the side of not torture-porn.

Just my two cents. Not sure if they help, but that was my thought.

04-11-2011, 05:58 AM
Well, if I wanted to victim to suffer, I would make lots of small cuts rather than one or two large ones in a main artery. Possibly using a rusty and not very sharp utility knife. ;-)

You know, I have heard dying of tetanus is a pretty painful way to go. ;)

04-11-2011, 06:00 AM
I might want a rusty old knife so that it tore the flesh as much as cut into it. ;-)

04-11-2011, 06:03 AM
Rusty old steak knife?

04-11-2011, 06:14 AM
Sorry to add the ick, but actually when the reader and the police are at the murder scene, you will get the traditional overview (like kaitie mentioned).

However, in the manuscript that is delivered to the police station about 10 minutes prior to them receiving the call about the murder, the death will be more laid out in detail, but in snippets as a detective reads important parts out loud to the team.

This is a dark murder mystery ... but I do not want to cross that line into either horror or porn. I know it will take me many re-writes/edits to make sure of that.

The reason for my timing question is due to needing to layout times for various suspects' alibis and the like. If the M.E. says that the victim, based on the aforementioned wounds, took 2 hours to bleed out, then I can create that block of time between the hours of XX and XX and now how to layout the alibis. If the vic only took 20 mins to bleed out, was that enough time for Suspect A to get from the scene back across town to the bar he supposedly said he was at? That type of thing.

I know in such stories, one can fudge a bit, but I am trying to be as realistic as realistically possible. There is going to be a lot of real and red herring clues, real and red herring suspects, etc ... so the reader will really be trying to solve the crime by having the exact same list of facts as the police in the story. Having accurate times will be one of those facts they'll need.

04-11-2011, 06:16 AM
If one did the multiple cuts all over ... the question remains the same - how long to bleed out approximately - assuming the vast majority of the cuts are deep enough to continue bleeding and not clot for the most part.

04-11-2011, 06:31 AM
I actually slit my wrist about 5 inches up my arm just before Christmas in a freak accident. The broken ceramic pot was very sharp and I never felt the cut. I cut the arm all the way through to the bone. The greatest danger (once I had applied pressure to stop the bleeding) was of passing out from shock. If you want the victim to suffer, many little cuts would be better. He will still bleed to death, but will not be unconscious from shock.
I bled a great deal until I was able to apply a compress. If he is unable to stop the bleeding, he should bleed out fairly quickly from deep cuts.
Hope this helps.

04-11-2011, 06:40 AM
Esmeralda - while I appreciate the information, I hate that you had to learn of it from experience with that accident! Owwwiee! The bone?!?!?! *shivers* I hope you healed well and not have too much of a scar.

Ok ... I'll change it to multiple deep cuts all over the body. That seems to show more anger towards the vic anyhow.

If there is additional insight that I may be overlooking, please don't hesitate to continue this thread.

04-11-2011, 06:44 AM
If the cuts are the right depth, not too shallow or too deep, it would probably work. The problem is that you have him suspended by his wrists, so how do the wrists keep bleeding? Anything around his wrists will cut off circulation quickly.

But this aside, it would take about six hours for him to bleed to death. Longer, if suspended in such a way. I'd have him tied to table, of something like a table. There's actually a formula that tells you how long it takes to die from slitting your wrists. It's part of forensic science. I've heard the formula, and once upon a time had it written down, but I can't find it now. I'd say ask a forensic scientist. I know from experience they can use the formula to give you a very, very close number.

But it usually takes a long time, which is one reason women typically slit their wrists while in a bathtub. The hot water quickens the process, and eases the pain.

04-11-2011, 06:46 AM
Cross-wise cuts will clot before you can bleed out. You need to really get a good artery, as the human body is remarkable in its ability to protect itself. And you don't really suffer... you'll pass out from blood loss. Not to mention, you have the arms over the head, which will slow bleeding (which is why they tell you to move things over the heart in first aid.

In your scenario, I'd go for the femoral artery. Go ahead and hack away at whatever for the stinging pain, but death from bleed is going to need a nice arterial drain in a lower extremity.

Yes, that was the goriest thing I've ever posted on any message board. :)

04-11-2011, 07:03 AM
Either I'm not doing well is using a search engine today or they just aren't posting these kinds of information on the web. *sighs* Thank goodness there are fellow writers who have learned a thing or two.

Thank you all.

I may have to re-think exactly how he dies, but at least it won't be a major re-write if I have to do some rearranging of facts. He definitely has to suffer. The beating with the rod stays (has significance). But he needs to die slowly (an hour or longer). I'm not doing this to try to be gory, but how he dies (the long drawn out painful suffering death) has significance to the plot.

04-11-2011, 08:02 AM
He could easily die of shock in the kind of situation you've described. Another thing to consider--hypothermia or exposure? I know you said the room wasn't too warm or cold, but it doesn't necessarily have to be freezing for someone to die of exposure, particularly if they're already experiencing physical trauma. If the storage room is unheated or the killer turns the air down, he could conceivably die as a result of the combination of the blood loss, traumatic injuries, and the cold. The killer might even undress him and leave him to die, knowing it could take a long time.

I don't think length of time is necessarily inherently gory, btw. Just the details you were provided seemed a little on the icky side. :) And that could very well just be me lol.

04-11-2011, 08:05 AM
Ooh! Something else to consider. So basically this is a big guy, right? On the obese side? Maybe he also has a heart condition or other health problems that would kill him even if he didn't bleed to death? Then even if the wounds weren't enough to necessarily kill him within the time frame you're looking for because of clotting or something, maybe his body just can't handle it because he already has health issues?

04-11-2011, 08:56 AM
This looks like a "story research" question.

Anyway, it reminds me of this horrible, gruesome actual news story from four years ago.

Two men left a note with their landlord saying they have a failing business, just discovered they're HIV positive, and they're going to commit suicide. Landlord found the note, called police who found them alive. Apparently they survived. Details in the story:

(this is your chance not to click - perhaps not for the squeamish)

04-11-2011, 02:29 PM
:welcome: BE! I'm porting you off to Story Research and Experts, where you'll get more views.

04-11-2011, 05:16 PM
Wheeee! Thanks for the trip to this section of the forum! hehehehe. Sorry gang, I forgot about this section of the forum last night when I started my question.

04-11-2011, 05:57 PM
Well horizontal or vertical if you cut the radial artery he will bleed out quick- if you hit a vien in the wrist he probably won't bleed to death-to small - but if you REALLY want the guy to suffer and take hours to die and don't mind a BIG ick factor;

eviserate him.

04-11-2011, 06:27 PM
You're evil! =) hehehehe

I've got to quickly create a website for a new client today, so I will take EVERYONE's thoughts and ideas into consideration and either tonight or tomorrow re-work the murder scene.

04-11-2011, 07:50 PM
You're evil! =) hehehehe


I do what I can

04-11-2011, 09:12 PM
I'm not sure. If he is suspended by his wrist and they are above his head, then the blood flow may not be enough to make him bleed to death. You could solve this problem by making the cuts bigger or have the torturer force blood thinner pills down the man's throat.

04-11-2011, 09:20 PM
I'm not sure. If he is suspended by his wrist and they are above his head, then the blood flow may not be enough to make him bleed to death. You could solve this problem by making the cuts bigger or have the torturer force blood thinner pills down the man's throat.
Blood thinners are going to take time to become theraputic enough to have an effect

04-11-2011, 09:55 PM
I think there's also a breathing factor to having him hanging like that (ala crucifixions).

04-11-2011, 10:15 PM
You could hang him upside down. The blood would drain quicker.
That would really freak me out.

04-11-2011, 11:11 PM
Why can't your victim try to stop the bleeding? If he's so incapacitated he's incapable of applying pressure, unless you cut an artery and it would happen quickly, then he's probably beyond the point of suffering. He might linger but his body might not feel like it's suffering.