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View Full Version : I don't want to shoot my hero in the shoulder



jallenecs
03-14-2014, 04:40 AM
I know enough about first aid to know that a bullet wound in the shoulder is waaaay more serious than they show on TV/movies. There are relatively large arteries there, the lungs, etc.

But I want my hero to be wounded in battle, in a fashion that resembles the way they treat a shoulder wound in the movies: significant but not immediately fatal blood loss, extreme pain, possible shock and brief (and possibly delayed) loss of consciousness, but still able to get up and flee the scene, be active at least for an hour or two after the injury. You know the routine.

So I thought shooting him in the hand. But that might not be bad enough. What is a good alternative? Upper arm? Lower arm? Lower leg? Just stick with the hand?

King Neptune
03-14-2014, 04:45 AM
A shot that doesn't hit a major blood vessel in any limb will have that kind of effect, especially if it misses bone. The old, "It's only a flesh wound," would be safest: a bullet through the calf or biceps or the outside of the thigh, or something like that.

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 04:51 AM
thanks!!!

Cathy C
03-14-2014, 04:53 AM
Is blood loss truly required? I ask because a torn rotator cuff (http://www.hss.edu/condition-list_rotator-cuff-injuries.asp) (tendon that holds the shoulder together) is excruciatingly painful and you would definitely lose use of the hand and arm. Shock is definitely possible and it would take surgery to correct, but out-patient and no healing wound issues.

Just a thought. :)

NeuroGlide
03-14-2014, 05:27 AM
So I thought shooting him in the hand. But that might not be bad enough. What is a good alternative? Upper arm? Lower arm? Lower leg? Just stick with the hand?

The hand is almost worse. Because of all the nerve endings (bad), there are lot are a lot of blood vessels (bad). There are also all the fine bones (bad). Less likely to kill you, more likely to cripple you.

What gun are you using? What range? What effect do you need? What era?

Without knowing more, my first thought would be a side shot to the jaw. Messy (facial wounds always bleed alot) but not fatal.

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 05:36 AM
The hand is almost worse. Because of all the nerve endings (bad), there are lot are a lot of blood vessels (bad). There are also all the fine bones (bad). Less likely to kill you, more likely to cripple you.

What gun are you using? What range? What effect do you need? What era?

Without knowing more, my first thought would be a side shot to the jaw. Messy (facial wounds always bleed alot) but not fatal.

1940 7.65 Luger. It's in 1940 France (rural area north of Paris), after the Battle of France and the capture of Dunkirk. Hero is fleeing a German attack. I need him to be injured enough that they have to abandon the refugee group that they've joined, hole up in a barn until he gets rested. Good opportunity for some character development stuff.

Not really sure about the range of the shot. Could be as little as ten to fifteen feet.

I originally thought the hand because it would have to be casted when he finally does get treatment. The cast would make for an interesting situation in the final battle about a week later in the story. (ie, would he use it to hit his opponent, that would hurt something awful, would his opponent use it against him, etc.) Broken bones would play into this, and the nerve damage (as a musician, I understand how delicate the hand is) would make for nice continuity between this story and any others that may follow.

NeuroGlide
03-14-2014, 06:06 AM
I originally thought the hand because it would have to be casted when he finally does get treatment. The cast would make for an interesting situation in the final battle about a week later in the story. (ie, would he use it to hit his opponent, that would hurt something awful, would his opponent use it against him, etc.) Broken bones would play into this, and the nerve damage (as a musician, I understand how delicate the hand is) would make for nice continuity between this story and any others that may follow.

Sounds like the hand injury is a keeper. The ballistics side sounds good. I'm not sure the hand injury by itself would slow him enough. A twisted ankle or bruised rib might be needed. I've had both and taped up I felt them, but I could work through them.

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 06:08 AM
Sounds like the hand injury is a keeper. The ballistics side sounds good. I'm not sure the hand injury by itself would slow him enough. A twisted ankle or bruised rib might be needed. I've had both and taped up I felt them, but I could work through them.

See, that's what worried me. My best friend was once shot in the hand (misfire). He taped it up and let it go; you can still see the scars.

NeuroGlide
03-14-2014, 06:31 AM
See, that's what worried me. My best friend was once shot in the hand (misfire). He taped it up and let it go; you can still see the scars.

Well, yea. Prompt treatment will prevent blood loss and that's what you're counting on to slow down your MC. So don't use blood loss. MC gets hit in the hand while running like a mofo because some one pulled a gun on him (the running saves his ass, making him a harder target). While running like a mofo, MC bounces off a tree, bruising a rib, or plants his/her foot wrong, twisting an ankle. Thanks to the adrenalin and hand injury, they don't notice the secondary injury until later.

L.C. Blackwell
03-14-2014, 06:34 AM
It's not unusual for someone to get shot in a firefight and not even realize it happened until later. Adrenaline is amazing stuff. For instance, your hero could be shot through the calf or outside upper thigh, missing the bone and major blood vessels; and still walk and/or flee if he's so charged on adrenaline that he doesn't even think about what's happening.

Let that same adrenaline wear off a few hours later; he's in a lot of pain, he bled more than he realized, the aftershock of so much adrenaline is setting in--yes, the body pays (and pays hard) for kicking in the fight/flight response; he probably hasn't eaten for hours, and his blood sugar is very low.

So yes, I can see him needing to drop out and rest a while, and possibly even faint if you want him to.

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 06:43 AM
Well, yea. Prompt treatment will prevent blood loss and that's what you're counting on to slow down your MC. So don't use blood loss. MC gets hit in the hand while running like a mofo because some one pulled a gun on him (the running saves his ass, making him a harder target). While running like a mofo, MC bounces off a tree, bruising a rib, or plants his/her foot wrong, twisting an ankle. Thanks to the adrenalin and hand injury, they don't notice the secondary injury until later.

That would totally work. Thanks!

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 07:04 AM
It's not unusual for someone to get shot in a firefight and not even realize it happened until later. Adrenaline is amazing stuff. For instance, your hero could be shot through the calf or outside upper thigh, missing the bone and major blood vessels; and still walk and/or flee if he's so charged on adrenaline that he doesn't even think about what's happening.

Let that same adrenaline wear off a few hours later; he's in a lot of pain, he bled more than he realized, the aftershock of so much adrenaline is setting in--yes, the body pays (and pays hard) for kicking in the fight/flight response; he probably hasn't eaten for hours, and his blood sugar is very low.

So yes, I can see him needing to drop out and rest a while, and possibly even faint if you want him to.

This is also a good idea! Thanks!

mirandashell
03-14-2014, 04:39 PM
BTW, you can hit someone with a plaster cast and not feel a thing yourself. Especially a plaster cast from the 1940s. You could use them as clubs.

jallenecs
03-14-2014, 08:30 PM
BTW, you can hit someone with a plaster cast and not feel a thing yourself. Especially a plaster cast from the 1940s. You could use them as clubs.

I didn't know that; I've never broken any bones (except my nose, and that doesn't normally get a cast :tongue ) Thanks for letting me know!