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bylinebree
05-03-2006, 04:59 AM
Hey there. No, it isn't a suicide question -- the character is trying to get enough blood to apply to another person's face, hands and exposed skin as much as possible. He's a warrior, very strong, etc. To "save" this person he cares about, he needs to put HIS blood on her to pass through a type of barrier.

Now, he isn't trying to kill himself. I have him slashing across his forearm to hit both small arteries there, fairly deep as I understand the anatomy thus far.

Would this produce alot of blood but not kill him, if he let it bleed for several minutes? Then I have the other person apply a stick and torn cloth tourniquet after they have enough blood.

Grisly, I know, but there IS a point. Thanks.

Pup
05-03-2006, 05:55 AM
Depends a bit, of course, on how much the character knows about doing this with the least damage to himself. He might make a poor choice by accident or ignorance and cause himself more harm than necessary, or he might have the skill to do it with the least damage, especially since he's a warrier and presumably is used to seeing the effects of various injuries in battle. Cutting into an artery, on purpose or by accident, would produce a lot of blood quickly, but as you noted, be harder to stop bleeding.

If I were going to do this myself (ugh! hope I'd never have to), I'd go for a vein, probably the vein on the inside crook of the elbow, the same one where blood is drawn for medical testing today, since it's easily visible and accessable. I'd think you could encourage a fair amount of blood out, but it would be easier to stop the flow when needed, with less pressure than a tourniquet, and thus less risk of future hemorrhage, plus none of the possible damage a tourniquet might do, by restricting blood-flow to the extremity, if required to be left on too long.

I'm not a doctor, so hopefully other more medically knowledgeable folks will comment.

bylinebree
05-03-2006, 11:15 PM
Thanks, 'Pup'

I read that if a small artery is severed, it may "draw up" into the body cavity and seal itself...which doesn't make much sense if they are always so concerned about an arterial bleed/bleeding to death.

Yeah, as a warrior he is familiar with wounds and how they bleed, etc. Now if he would just "transfer" that knowledge to his creator, the imp! In spite of this I don't want him permanently disabled, ha.

If I can't get scientific bg on this, I'll just leave it as general thing, I guess.

lauram
05-04-2006, 12:04 AM
I fell down once and threw my hand out to catch myself. I cut open the center section of the wrist, but I'm not sure if I hit a vein or not, but it bled like crazy. I got the bleeding to stop by pressing a clean cloth on it for about 5 minutes or so. It definitely bled enough to paint a face (or two). :)

I used to be a "cutter" or whatever it's called nowadays; I used to cut myself as a teen. Most of the cuts on my forearms didn't bring much blood. A thin, superficial cut across the wrist does draw more blood than a similar cut anywhere else on the forearm. At least for me, anyway.

Cuts on my legs and abdomen seemed to bleed about the same as my arms. I think if you nick a vein you'll get good flow, but you obviously don't want too deep of a cut.

Not sure if this helps out at all, but I figured I'd give you my perspective.

ColoradoGuy
05-05-2006, 05:44 AM
Definitely use the veins as pup suggests. A belt around the upper arm makes the veins stand up nicely, and bleeding is easy to stop afterwards: release the belt and hold pressure at the elbow for about five minutes. The arteries of the hand (radial and ulnar) are deep, are located near other vital structures, such as nerves and tendons, and it can be hard to stop the bleeding once they are severed. Most folks, however, can stand losing one or the other of these two arteries without loss of hand function.

bylinebree
05-07-2006, 04:08 AM
Definitely use the veins as pup suggests. A belt around the upper arm makes the veins stand up nicely, and bleeding is easy to stop afterwards: release the belt and hold pressure at the elbow for about five minutes. The arteries of the hand (radial and ulnar) are deep, are located near other vital structures, such as nerves and tendons, and it can be hard to stop the bleeding once they are severed. Most folks, however, can stand losing one or the other of these two arteries without loss of hand function.

Well, now I have a dilemma -- he's in a real hurry, with only a matter of minutes to carry out what he has to do (let enough blood to coat the girl's skin). Don' t know if he has time to belt his arm and wait for veins, etc.
So now I have to figure out how much peril I want to put him in -- I do have him stumbling across this border afterwards, and passing out.
A vein or arteries?
White bread or wheat?

Is that totally unrealistic, do you think?

ColoradoGuy
05-07-2006, 05:09 AM
If you need that much blood that fast, it would have to be arterial. Veins tend to bleed slowly. For example, the best flow that would come from a vein, even a big one, would be about 10 mL/min. A large artery will pump 10 times that fast. The most accessible artery would be the radial -- where one typically feels the pulse. As I mentioned in my last post, most of us have dual blood supply to our hand from the radial and ulnar arteries: sometimes one of these clots off for one reason or another and hand function is usually (but not always) OK. If you want a lot a blood fast and your hero is willing to take the risk, cut the radial artery of the left hand (if right handed). Do it with the point of a knife -- a straight down stab, not a slash -- just inside the styloid process of the radius, the bony bump that you feel next to the pulse. This would have the best chance of cutting the artery without hurting a nerve or tendon. It would spurt pretty fast. To stop the bleeding, don't bother with trying to fish out the end of the artery to tie it off; just bind it tightly with a bandage. The bandage would probably soak through with blood, but just bind a new one on top -- no peeking at the wound for at least 12 hours to let the clot form well.

bylinebree
05-08-2006, 11:48 AM
COGuy,

I thought it would have to be arterial...I just didn't want him to bleed out.
The stab-technique is perfect, he may be a bit messy but will hit it since he has some knowledge, as I said before, of wounds and bleeding and such. The girl knows how to stop it, fortunately, so she'll take care of that. She and other warriors get him to a healing place, where they can really stitch him up and save his arm. (it's a fantasy medieval setting, but they are more advanced than historically-documented, med.period medicine)

Since you may read this post again, one more question: If a person bleeds alot like that, how long does it usually take for them to recover, and what treatment would be needed? I have the healers having him eat well, drink alot -- esp. a "blood building tea" and resting in bed until he's strong enough to stand up without feeling faint. Just in case you know...

Thanks for letting me pick your store of medical knowledge (I wanted to be a doctor but didn't get to -- so this is my vicarious way of dabbling in the human body/health!)

Histry Nerd
05-08-2006, 05:42 PM
Bree -

Colorado Guy touched on this, but I thought I'd add my two cents as well. The muscles of the forearm provide much of the strength of a person's grip. If he accidentally severs or damages muscles and/or tendons in his forearm, his grip will be weaker than normal while they heal. And it will take a lot longer for that to heal than for his blood supply to replenish itself.

Probably not an issue if he's just going to prick the artery, but if he were to slip for some reason....

Hope it helps
HN

james1611
05-08-2006, 08:56 PM
Hey, body position of that arm can send more pressure to veins...for example hold your hand below your heart..the veins puff up, raised above the heart they lose pressure and stop bulging.

Also veins find most of their pumping action from muscle contractions, if he's pumping the muscles around, it could produce more blood quicky...plus story wise if he's in peril his blood pressure will be up automatically...more blood flow..

james

ColoradoGuy
05-08-2006, 10:20 PM
COGuy,
Since you may read this post again, one more question: If a person bleeds alot like that, how long does it usually take for them to recover, and what treatment would be needed? I have the healers having him eat well, drink alot -- esp. a "blood building tea" and resting in bed until he's strong enough to stand up without feeling faint. Just in case you know...
The immediate problem with excessive bleeding is loss of circulating blood volume. The actual red blood cells (which carry the oxygen) are important, but the main issue at first is simple loss of fluid for the heart to pump. The point at which someone feels symptoms of volume loss -- mainly fainting and very fast heart rate -- is variable, but I would expect that a healthy male could tolerate loss of about a quart of blood (out of a total blood volume of about 6 quarts). Still, he would get dizzy if he ran too hard, especially if he is at altitude over 5,000 feet or so. I have cared for patients who have lost up to 80% of their blood volume and survived, so much is possible if your plot demands it.

This volume can be replaced over several hours simply by drinking any fluid, and he would feel better soon. The red blood cells, however, would also need to be replaced by his bone marrow and that would take a few weeks. He would be a bit weak from the anemia until then. Make sure that he gets plenty of iron (red meat is a good source).

By way of comparison, when you donate blood they take a pint and give you 3 months to replace it before they ask you to donate again.

Variant Frequencies
05-09-2006, 06:54 AM
Hey there. No, it isn't a suicide question -- the character is trying to get enough blood to apply to another person's face, hands and exposed skin as much as possible. He's a warrior, very strong, etc. To "save" this person he cares about, he needs to put HIS blood on her to pass through a type of barrier.

Now, he isn't trying to kill himself. I have him slashing across his forearm to hit both small arteries there, fairly deep as I understand the anatomy thus far.

Would this produce alot of blood but not kill him, if he let it bleed for several minutes? Then I have the other person apply a stick and torn cloth tourniquet after they have enough blood.

Grisly, I know, but there IS a point. Thanks.

It really wouldn't take much blood to coat someone's exposed skin. (Unless she's one of those half-naked fantasy chicks.) I doubt your warrior would need to open an artery for it. You say he's in a big hurry, but it can take a long time for an artery to stop bleeding, even from a needle stick. You'd have to apply pressure for quite a while. (I'm a nurse.) You never use a tourniquet unless you're willing to sacrifice the limb, because it will cut off all circulation.

As has already been pointed out, slicing himself on the arm risks damaging other structures as well (nerves, muscles, tendons), and might make it difficult or impossible for him to hold a sword or a shield, for example.

I'm going to suggest something that will sound crazy, but pro wrestlers do it all the time. Have him do a deep cut on his forehead. He'll get plenty of blood. Even superficial head wounds bleed like crazy. Then he can just tie the cloth around his head and go through the barrier.

bylinebree
05-09-2006, 08:43 AM
It really wouldn't take much blood to coat someone's exposed skin. (Unless she's one of those half-naked fantasy chicks.) I doubt your warrior would need to open an artery for it. You say he's in a big hurry, but it can take a long time for an artery to stop bleeding, even from a needle stick. .

Yes, I found this out the hard way when I had a cardiac catherization and the lovely plug they stick in your femoral artery, awaking to the tech leaning on my groin with nearly all his weight, squishing me flat!


You'd have to apply pressure for quite a while. (I'm a nurse.) You never use a tourniquet unless you're willing to sacrifice the limb, because it will cut off all circulation. .

Right -- would an hour be too long to have a tourniquet on, though? She could use a pressure bandage instead.


As has already been pointed out, slicing himself on the arm risks damaging other structures as well (nerves, muscles, tendons), and might make it difficult or impossible for him to hold a sword or a shield, for example..

Or hold a woman...he's a bit of a lover-boy but 'reformed' by a spiritual transformation at this point. But not losing his weapon-abilities would still be important, too.


I'm going to suggest something that will sound crazy, but pro wrestlers do it all the time. Have him do a deep cut on his forehead. He'll get plenty of blood. Even superficial head wounds bleed like crazy. Then he can just tie the cloth around his head and go through the barrier ..

Unique idea! I'll consider this, though he's a really gorgeous guy and I'd hate to disfigure him. He, however, isn't vain and it wouldn't care if he had a scar. Maybe it would add "character" to his face, eh?
Man, those wrestlers are real masochists, aren't they!

Variant Frequencies
05-09-2006, 05:42 PM
Yes, I found this out the hard way when I had a cardiac catherization and the lovely plug they stick in your femoral artery, awaking to the tech leaning on my groin with nearly all his weight, squishing me flat!

You have my sympathy! I hope everything was okay.



Right -- would an hour be too long to have a tourniquet on, though? She could use a pressure bandage instead.

Yes, an hour would be too long. Fifteen minutes would probably be too long. A pressure bandage ought to work.


Or hold a woman...he's a bit of a lover-boy but 'reformed' by a spiritual transformation at this point. But not losing his weapon-abilities would still be important, too.



Unique idea! I'll consider this, though he's a really gorgeous guy and I'd hate to disfigure him. He, however, isn't vain and it wouldn't care if he had a scar. Maybe it would add "character" to his face, eh?
Man, those wrestlers are real masochists, aren't they!

Oh yeah, scars are very cool. :) And don't tell them I said so, but those wrestlers are a little crazy.

bylinebree
05-10-2006, 08:45 AM
Hi Variant,

Yes, everything was OK on my cath test -- it was acid reflux where the walls of my chest sort of 'seized up.' I learned to take the medication, which I had tried to ignore!

A scar would be rakish...I will seriously consider it. Don't know any wrestlers, pro se, so your comment is safe with me :)

Popeyesays
05-14-2006, 08:27 AM
Tourniquets are NOT recommended for anything but severed limbs. Then you tourniquet both the stump and the limb if possible.

Back in the days when tourniquets WERE recommended, the rule was fifteen minutes on and fifteen minutes off. Otherwise the limb will necrose and die - thus being amputated anyway.

If its written for a period after 1960 NO TOURNIQUETS.

Pressure bandages - fine. Hard pressure at the closest pressure point up the limb - fine. For chest punctures, you need an airtight pressure bandage, otherwise the air will bubble in and out the wound, collapsing the lung and exposing the pleural sack to contamination and infection.

Regars,
Scott

bylinebree
05-16-2006, 06:28 PM
Got it. It will be a sort of pressure bandage, which even the ancients knew of less they bleed to death on the battlefield, etc.

Thanks for all the input, you med folks are so helpful.

Here's what I've half-decided to do -- have him make two cuts so he and the girl can both be busy spreading the blood on her; her, using the forehead cut and him, using the forearm or elbow-cut.

Sounds gross but it's a redemptive act and should have some impact. Combined with the waning of his "life force" it just about wipes him out completely.

The not-so-half-naked fantasy chick DOES appreciate his heroics. And he does live to do other crazy stuff.

Variant Frequencies
05-16-2006, 08:43 PM
Cool, 'Bree! It was a fun discussion.