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stickyinspiration
07-10-2014, 08:43 AM
Hi all - new here but am very excited about this resource. I'm happy to accept feedback on how to operate around here better better; please forgive any mistakes from the noob in the meantime.

This may be a long shot...but here goes. I need to injure a character in the forest while she's running away from something. I'm looking for a wound that would make her initially unable to walk, though potentially able to drag herself into hiding - perhaps a puncture from a branch. Ideally she loses consciousness from blood loss but it's not immediately life threatening. She's rescued but treatment options are rudimentary.

Beyond suggestions on type of injury and location, I'd like to know how long she could lose consciousness, and what the healing process would be like. Could she survive without modern antibiotics? Would she be able to walk/run normally again?

Thanks in advance!

King Neptune
07-10-2014, 04:24 PM
You can do pretty much what you want on this, any injury and any results, because the variation among humans to reaction to and healing from injuries is quite wide. But your idea of a puncture from a broken branch would do well enough. A couple inches of jagged wood into her calf would hurt and bleed nicely. She could hobble into a thicket and pass out there. It would be quite survivable, and she probably would have no more long term effect than a small scar.

waylander
07-10-2014, 04:42 PM
Just turning an ankle badly can be completely disabling, I know I've done it.

asroc
07-10-2014, 05:27 PM
A note on your ideal scenario, losing consciousness from blood loss is immediately life-threatening and without modern, specialized treatment it will kill your character. However, short of an amputation-style catastrophic injury, a lower leg wound isn't likely to hemorrhage enough for that to happen.

stickyinspiration
07-10-2014, 06:17 PM
Thanks everyone! This is very helpful.


A note on your ideal scenario, losing consciousness from blood loss is immediately life-threatening and without modern, specialized treatment it will kill your character. However, short of an amputation-style catastrophic injury, a lower leg wound isn't likely to hemorrhage enough for that to happen.

Is there something that would make her lose consciousness that wouldn't be immediately life threatening? Could it be a combination of stress, lack of nutrition and the wound?

waylander
07-10-2014, 10:04 PM
pain and shock

WeaselFire
07-10-2014, 10:19 PM
Sprained ankle, broken ankle, pulled groin muscle and the classic strained or ruptured hamstring come to mind way before any puncture wound. All can hinder movement as well as lead to light-headedness, being dizzy and unconsciousness if needed and all are generally healed by simple time elapsing.

Jeff

King Neptune
07-10-2014, 10:40 PM
Thanks everyone! This is very helpful.



Is there something that would make her lose consciousness that wouldn't be immediately life threatening? Could it be a combination of stress, lack of nutrition and the wound?

The precise reason for passing out isn't important, but it would not be unusual for someone to lose consciousness (or fall asleep) after an injury that would limit mobility.

stickyinspiration
07-11-2014, 12:00 AM
Thanks everyone! This is all greatly appreciated.

kkwalker
07-11-2014, 04:46 PM
Actually, in an injury situation, shock is the biggest killer. It causes blood pressure to fall, sometimes to dangerously low levels--meaning that organs don't get enough oxygen. It's the low blood pressure that also causes people to pass out from shock.

You can get shock from a number of different scenarios. Blood loss is one--but if you have blood loss, that means an open wound. Infection is highly likely in this situation, and survival without treatment (or only rudimentary treatment) would be questionable.

Another thought would be a head trauma--like falling and hitting the head. It could cause wooziness, followed by unconsciousness. Length of unconsciousness ranges from seconds to hours. If the person survives the initial trauma will likely have a concussion. Very basic treatment is needed--rest (but not sleep), perhaps steriods to reduce brain swelling if there is any.

I like the twisted ankle idea as well. Personally, I have twisted my ankle so badly that I passed out from it. In this case, though, it depends on how quickly you want your protagonist to recover. An ankle sprain that bad might take a month or more to recover from, even with assistance.

Broken bones, of course, are right out--same reason. Recovery time would be slow.

Hope this helps some.

kkwalker
07-11-2014, 05:37 PM
Had another thought! You mentioned that in your ideal scenario there would be blood loss. Nothing, but nothing, bleeds like a head wound--and the wound itself doesn't have to be life-threatening.

I know I said that a blood loss scenario would mean an open wound and infection would be life-threatening without treatment. Still true. However, the difference here is that a head wound is usually not very deep. Why does that matter? Well, a deep, piercing type wound tends to get infected more often. The reason is that bleeding tends to 'wash out' a less deep wound, but if bacteria really get in deep, they tend to stay deep. Think tetanus. Tetanus bacteria can get into any cut or wound, but they tend to be a problem mostly in puncture wounds. They like environments with little air, and the deeper the wound the less likely they are to get washed out.

This head wound idea could run parallel to the concussion thought. The two together would lead to a person who has a messy wound, and is woozy-staggery and dizzy for a period of time. Neither one would necessarily be life-threatening, but together they might give you the look and feel that you want for your story.

stickyinspiration
07-11-2014, 07:08 PM
Oh that's great. Thank you so much. Would a head wound cause lapses in consciousness? e.g. could she pass out for a couple hours, come to, then pass out again?

I need a medical degree!

King Neptune
07-11-2014, 10:19 PM
Oh that's great. Thank you so much. Would a head wound cause lapses in consciousness? e.g. could she pass out for a couple hours, come to, then pass out again?

I need a medical degree!


It could cause those, but almost any injury could.

kkwalker
07-11-2014, 11:04 PM
Would a head wound cause lapses in consciousness? e.g. could she pass out for a couple hours, come to, then pass out again?

Absolutely, a head wound could cause blackouts--as in, more than one. Concussions tend to be that way, especially if there is mild brain swelling. It might also cause vertigo, disorientation, and difficulty walking. Not to mention, difficulty with almost any other function, depending on where the brain injury is--speaking, logic, sight, etc.

BTW, just for reference, concussion can be caused by actually striking the head, or from another force. For example, an explosion could cause concussive force, leading to a brain trauma like concussion.

asroc
07-11-2014, 11:46 PM
Oh that's great. Thank you so much. Would a head wound cause lapses in consciousness? e.g. could she pass out for a couple hours, come to, then pass out again?

I need a medical degree!

Can that happen? Yes. Will your character be okay if that happens? Absolutely not. Contrary to what you might see on TV losing consciousness for a long time indicates a serious problem. 'A long time' means longer than a couple of minutes. You don't have a concussion in that case either, you have something much worse, something that probably requires a neuro-ICU. (Concussion means mild traumatic brain injury; it's not synonymous with 'getting hit on the head.') Concussions do not cause repeated loss of consciousness. If LOC happens, it happens once and it's short. If you lose consciousness a second time, again, you have something worse and need to see a doctor right away.

Concerning the (external) bleeding of head wounds, they tend to bleed very dramatically-looking, but the actual amount of blood lost is rarely ever big enough to be dangerous. (There are many types of wounds that bleed much stronger than a head injury, and they don't need to be open wounds to cause shock either.) Head wounds can, of course, cause lengthy loss of consciousness, but if that's due to bleeding, then due to bleeding occurring inside the skull.

If your character absolutely needs to lose consciousness, doesn't have modern medicine available and needs to be okay in the long run, she can't lose consciousness for long. Losing consciousness means you've got a problem with your brain. If that problem isn't transient and doesn't get corrected within a very short amount of time, it's a big problem.

kkwalker
07-12-2014, 11:53 AM
@asroc Interesting! I've actually known people who have knocked themselves silly and been out for an hour or more that recovered just fine with no help (they were all macho guys who refused to go to the hospital, admittedly), and two of those did lose consciousness twice.

In the animal world, brain damage is harder to assess, and unconsciousness from a head knock lasts longer with no noticeable side effects. Had a car accident patient (dog) who was out for close to three hours who woke up and was a bit woozy, but otherwise fine.

EarlyBird
07-12-2014, 04:00 PM
If your MC is in the woods for a few days, she could develop a staph infection from a wound. My sister had one (on her butt, no lie) and the doctor had to dig it out and pack it with gauze. That sounds pretty rudimentary, no?

ETA: That type of wound/infection is painful, but your MC would be able to drag herself around, or limp, or hobble...whatever works.