PDA

View Full Version : Possible gunshot wound scenarios for a character



valerielynn
03-25-2014, 06:04 AM
I'm currently in the process of rewriting the first few chapters of the story that I'm writing and I decided reconsider an idea that I threw out the window a year ago due to the idea being weak. But I have recently figured out a way to make it more juicy!

This idea involves a hostage situation where many are shot and killed. One of my characters ends up getting shot because he was trying to stand up for and protect his girlfriend. I'm.just trying to think of a possible gunshot location that would injur him enough that he would possibly lose consciousness frequently, would need surgery and lots of bleeding, but I DO NOT want him to be so injured that he's critical or on the verge of death.

At first I was thinking of a gunshot wound to the shoulder and then I thought about maybe somewhere in the abdomen. Where at on the body could someone get shot, lose a lot of blood but wouldn't be too critically injured?

NeuroGlide
03-25-2014, 06:26 AM
At first I was thinking of a gunshot wound to the shoulder and then I thought about maybe somewhere in the abdomen. Where at on the body could someone get shot, lose a lot of blood but wouldn't be too critically injured?

Shoulder wounds in real life are often fatal. The few that aren't are crippling, as in "might never use that arm again" crippling. Abdominal injuries have a good chance of infection because the bacteria that live in your gut get out. And ANY wound that bleeds a lot is a critical injury.

What gun are you using? How fast does the victim get treatment?

valerielynn
03-25-2014, 06:35 AM
I just need a place on his body where he can get shot at that would hurt, have noticeable bleeding, lose consciousness briefly, would require surgery, and a quick enough recovery time. So where would be a good or safe place on the body to get shot that wouldn't be too severe or serious?

As for the type of gun that is being used, I have no idea! I'm going to have to do a little research on this. All I know right now is that it will be the type of gun that is commonly used in a hostage situation. Any suggestions on the type of gun that is usually used in this kind of situation?

MDSchafer
03-25-2014, 06:41 AM
Vastus Lateralis. It's the pronounced muscle on the outside of your leg. In anyone who runs or does a lot of cardio, particularly men, it will flex out a bit from the leg. Basically it runs from the knee to the top of the femur close to where it connects to pelvis. If the bullet misses the descending branch of the lateral circumflex artery it's probably not a critical injury. He might pass out from pain, although it's not horribly painful though.

Loss of consciousness is very serious, it's rare to get frequent loss of consciousness without being in a critical condition.

The caliber of gun and distance is also key.

valerielynn
03-25-2014, 06:47 AM
Loss of consciousness doesn't have to be necessary. I just want him to feel pain and make it look like he's about to lose consciousness if that makes sense.

frimble3
03-25-2014, 07:15 AM
'Loss of consciousness' is variable, isn't it? There are people who pass out at the sight of a hypodermic needle, before they even get the injection. I assume that feeling the bullet hit, then looking down and seeing your own blood flowing would do the job for some people, especially if they're all keyed up by the whole hostage situation.

NeuroGlide
03-25-2014, 07:17 AM
As for the type of gun that is being used, I have no idea! I'm going to have to do a little research on this. All I know right now is that it will be the type of gun that is commonly used in a hostage situation. Any suggestions on the type of gun that is usually used in this kind of situation?

There is no "safe" place to be shot. People have died from wounds in the hand because the bullet sent shock waves up the artery and blown out the heart valves. Others have survived head shots because the bullet glanced off their skull and ran under the scalp.

As to "commonly used in a hostage situation," the only commonly used guns are the cops. Crooks use whatever they can get their hands on. You can justify anything for them.

Having said all that, I'm going to suggest something odd: AK-47, through the lung. It's such a powerful gun it'll blow right through without dumping most of it's energy. Hit him near the right nipple and it will avoid the heart and spinal cord. It will hurt and the pain will get worse. Every breath, air will leak out of his lung and get into his chest cavity. His lung will slowly collapse, every breath will get harder. In addition to the blood on his shirt, he'll get blood bubbles on his lips from bleeding into his lungs (actually quite minor, but very dramatic). Treatment: seal the bullet wounds, put in a check (one way) valve to vent the chest, then do surgery to close the holes in the lungs. The first can be done by anyone with good first aid training, the second by paramedics.

MDSchafer
03-25-2014, 05:22 PM
'Loss of consciousness' is variable, isn't it? There are people who pass out at the sight of a hypodermic needle, before they even get the injection. I assume that feeling the bullet hit, then looking down and seeing your own blood flowing would do the job for some people, especially if they're all keyed up by the whole hostage situation.

Medically speaking there is a difference between a situational vasovagal response and loss of consciousness. Fainting is one thing, passing out due to trauma is another.

asroc
03-25-2014, 07:49 PM
An extremity would be your best bet. With prompt and proper treatment the prognosis is usually pretty good if you avoid the major arteries.
Gunshot wounds to the trunk or head can go relatively smoothly, but they often don't and there's already a lot of really terrible medicine in modern fiction.


Shoulder wounds in real life are often fatal. The few that aren't are crippling, as in "might never use that arm again" crippling.

That's not true. Permanent damage, absolutely, but the mortality rate for GSWs to the shoulder is pretty low.



Having said all that, I'm going to suggest something odd: AK-47, through the lung. [...]

That really is an odd suggestion. The OP asked for a "safe" place to get shot. This doesn't even come close; hemopneumothorax secondary to a thorax GSW is a serious injury with a high mortality rate. (It's rapid needle decompression that "vents" the chest, not the one-way valve, by the way.)


'Loss of consciousness' is variable, isn't it? There are people who pass out at the sight of a hypodermic needle, before they even get the injection. I assume that feeling the bullet hit, then looking down and seeing your own blood flowing would do the job for some people, especially if they're all keyed up by the whole hostage situation.

There are many reasons why people might lose consciousness. However, loss of consciousness from hemorrhage and syncope caused by something like needle phobia are medically speaking the same phenomenon (brain hypoxia).
What makes them different is the underlying cause and the subsequent progression. Syncope is transient, should correct itself very quickly and is usually not dangerous. Unconsciousness from blood loss means the body is in uncompensated hypovolemic shock, does not have enough circulating blood volume to supply the brain with oxygen and is starting to shut down; the patient is about to die. So if the character is supposed to live, that shouldn't be why he passes out.

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 07:51 PM
Does the character have to be mobile or otherwise useful soon thereafter?

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 07:53 PM
To asroc: I think that he meant like an asherman seal in the prehospital environment...

asroc
03-25-2014, 08:20 PM
"Vent" is kind of too strong a verb for me to go with an Asherman seal, but fair enough.

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 08:22 PM
True, but it seems to be what they were intending..

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 08:24 PM
Maybe not, though...you a medic?

asroc
03-25-2014, 08:27 PM
EMT-P, yes.

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 08:36 PM
Cool, whereabouts?

asroc
03-25-2014, 08:42 PM
New England.

(We should probably take this elsewhere, though, this forum isn't really meant for socializing.)

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 08:49 PM
Right right

valerielynn
03-25-2014, 08:58 PM
Does the character have to be mobile or otherwise useful soon thereafter?

I would like the character to be mobile at least a week or 2 later. I've been researching possible gunshot wound areas all morning and almost every scenario is either too serious or would require a long recovery time.

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 09:52 PM
I would like the character to be mobile at least a week or 2 later. I've been researching possible gunshot wound areas all morning and almost every scenario is either too serious or would require a long recovery time.

It's a challenge, certainly....but then again the average reader wants plausibility...not necessarily perfect accuracy.

NeuroGlide
03-26-2014, 02:54 AM
That's not true. Permanent damage, absolutely, but the mortality rate for GSWs to the shoulder is pretty low.

I've got a nurse friend who tells me otherwise (as long as it's not just a graze). Might be based on different experiences.


That really is an odd suggestion. The OP asked for a "safe" place to get shot. This doesn't even come close; hemopneumothorax secondary to a thorax GSW is a serious injury with a high mortality rate. (It's rapid needle decompression that "vents" the chest, not the one-way valve, by the way.)

I had to make some assumptions because of the lack of information. Since crooks try to avoid hostage situations (it never ends good for them) I assumed domestic terrorists. AKs are cheap (and I didn't catch a typo, it should have been an AK-74), and can be converted to domestic .223 (5.56mm). I did this for two reasons. Back during the Battle of the Black Sea in Mogadishu, the Rangers were reporting that their guns weren't very effective. They were having to shoot the militia members repeatedly to get them to fall. Their bullets were just blowing through them without visible effect (they were dying from blood loss, but not where the Rangers could see it). Their green tip (armor piercing) ammo was the wrong ammo for use against unarmored militia. How did the bad guys get green tip? You can buy government surplus/reject green tip in bulk through catalogs (yea, I'm pro-gun and that disgusts me).

I also assumed he got shot at the time the most shooting would have taken place, the hostage rescue, so any treatment would have been prompt, greatly improving his odds. But even with all that, I mostly did it for the psychological effect on the MC. He doesn't pass out, but becomes nonresponsive due to fear as he believes he's going to die.

valerielynn
03-26-2014, 05:52 AM
So I've been thinking! What about if my character gets shot in the fatty part of the abdomen (like in the love handle area) but the bullet just grazed him and hits no vital organs? I came up with this idea while looking at an anatomy of the body chart. But now I have more questions. First of all, if the bullet just grazed him would there be any blood, and if so would it be a little or a lot? Would surgery be needed since the bullet only grazed him? I'm assuming that there wouldn't be much of a recovery time, am I correct on that one?

NeuroGlide
03-26-2014, 07:20 AM
So I've been thinking! What about if my character gets shot in the fatty part of the abdomen (like in the love handle area) but the bullet just grazed him and hits no vital organs? I came up with this idea while looking at an anatomy of the body chart. But now I have more questions. First of all, if the bullet just grazed him would there be any blood, and if so would it be a little or a lot? Would surgery be needed since the bullet only grazed him? I'm assuming that there wouldn't be much of a recovery time, am I correct on that one?

With a graze, he might just need a few stitches. No, not a lot of blood. There seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between injury and pain due to endorphins so it would hurt quite a bit. You may know your MC is barely wounded, but does he?

valerielynn
03-27-2014, 06:24 AM
With a graze, he might just need a few stitches. No, not a lot of blood. There seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between injury and pain due to endorphins so it would hurt quite a bit. You may know your MC is barely wounded, but does he?


A few stitches, I could live with that. So with a bullet graze, would it be the same (meaning just stitches, and not a lot of blood) for a bullet graze to the shoulder area? I keep going back and forth and can't decide if I want him to be grazed in the shoulder or stomach area.

All I want is for the girlfriend to freak out and cry when she sees that her boyfriend has been hit. I just love it when female characters freak out because their boyfriend is hurt or injured in some way, and also the cuteness/sexiness factor of an injured character. I have a bad habit, of when it comes to injuries on a character of making it look too serious and I always have to remind myself that it doesn't always have to be so tragic or serious.

NeuroGlide
03-27-2014, 06:57 AM
All I want is for the girlfriend to freak out and cry when she sees that her boyfriend has been hit. I just love it when female characters freak out because their boyfriend is hurt or injured in some way, and also the cuteness/sexiness factor of an injured character. I have a bad habit, of when it comes to injuries on a character of making it look too serious and I always have to remind myself that it doesn't always have to be so tragic or serious.

I would aim lower than the shoulder, left side of chest, just below the nipple, outside of the rib cage. Many (most?) people think the heart is just under their left breast when it's really under their lower breastbone. Now the girlfriend has reason to freak 'cause her SO's been hit right near his heart!

MDSchafer
03-28-2014, 04:31 AM
I've got a nurse friend who tells me otherwise (as long as it's not just a graze). Might be based on different experiences.

I guess it depends where you consider the shoulder to be. If you have someone who works out and has big trapezes muscles then yeah, but if you shoot a thin person in the shoulder, then that's whole different place.

asroc
03-28-2014, 07:26 PM
I've got a nurse friend who tells me otherwise (as long as it's not just a graze). Might be based on different experiences.


The fatality rate for a GSW to the shoulder can be high if the subclavian/axillary artery is compromised, but in most penetrating injuries to the shoulder that doesn't happen. I work in a high-crime area where lots of people get shot, including in the shoulder. Most of them live.

In what area does your nurse friend work?


So I've been thinking! What about if my character gets shot in the fatty part of the abdomen (like in the love handle area) but the bullet just grazed him and hits no vital organs? I came up with this idea while looking at an anatomy of the body chart. But now I have more questions. First of all, if the bullet just grazed him would there be any blood, and if so would it be a little or a lot? Would surgery be needed since the bullet only grazed him? I'm assuming that there wouldn't be much of a recovery time, am I correct on that one?

There should be blood, the body is vascularized all the way to the skin. A small amount of blood can already make a huge mess. So for a layperson with no reference a pretty insignificant hemorrhage can look very dramatic.