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lifetimescar
07-08-2017, 03:35 PM
First things first, I'm from Spain. I've never been to any English speaking countries in my life, so if any of you find any grammatical errors I hope you can be understanding
With that out of the way...

Here's my issue. I've read a lot of posts related to gunshots, but none of them are quite what I'm looking for.

The scene I'm having trouble writing unfolds like this. One of my characters gets shot on the shoulder. She's a spy, so it's not the first time she founds herself in that kind of situation. What I'm trying to say is, she doesn't panic; she keeps her cool and runs away to safety, which in this case is the house of a retired fellow spy. She's being chased, so that means hospitals are not an option.

Given that the wound is not life threatening -the bullet went through, so there's no shrapnel on her shoulder and she also managed to stop the bleeding-, what kind of treatment would be needed?

Again, I apologize for my English :cry:

jltorres3
07-08-2017, 06:00 PM
Depending on how technical you want to get, there are varying degrees of injuries from a bullet wound. Since the shoulder is a tight area your character is bound to have fractured or even broken some bones, not to mention could have torn ligaments, and will obviously have torn through some muscle. I mention this because this could lead to some interesting handicaps for your character as the story progresses. For example often times gunshots to the shoulder area will leave the arm a bit weak due to nerve damage. Or the fractured/ broken bones will lead to more damaged tissues resulting in her having to go to the hospital to save her arm so to speak. The longer a bone is out of place the less likely they'll be able to put it back in it's place and for it to heal correctly. Therefore basic first aid would be to stop the bleeding with a pressure bandage or cauterize the wound, then immobilizing the arm to help stabilize the injury and promote healing, antibiotics if they're lucky enough that their friend has some left over, some pain killers, they'll need to clean the wound preferably with saline, but clean water will do, dress the wound with clean dry bandages, lots of gauze. Change out the bandages twice a day Or at least once a day, and keep the arm immobilized to help with healing.

Hope this helps :)

lifetimescar
07-08-2017, 06:05 PM
Thank you very much, this is exactly what I needed!

blacbird
07-09-2017, 05:34 AM
I can offer no expertise in gunshot wounds, but I can say that your original post betrays no weakness in written English. I do Spanish, but can't claim to write it anywhere near as well as you do English.

caw

WeaselFire
07-09-2017, 10:16 PM
I know enough Spanish to find a bathroom, order a beer and get my face slapped, but I know a ton of native English speakers who can't write as well as you.

Keep in mind that the shoulder is a bad area for a gunshot, plenty of critical arteries, nerves, tendons and bones in there. So pick the results you need from the wound and work backward to get the effect needed for your story. Could range from an incredibly lucky clean shot through with minimal damage to permanent handicap, paralysis and death. The movie version of the hero getting shot in the shoulder and walking away in a sling is total fiction. If you need that, hit the shoulder muscle in the upper arm, outside the bone.

Jeff

GeorgeK
07-10-2017, 05:04 PM
The bullet going through means an exit wound. Exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and are almost always a very bad thing unless you are talking a flesh wound only slightly deeper than a graze. High velocity rounds produce exit wounds and high velocity wounds also mean shock wave damage far beyond what the bullet actually touched. If I were to have to be shot in the shoulder, I'd much prefer a lower velocity bullet that got lodged in a bone than a high velocity bullet that went all the way through.

CWatts
07-10-2017, 05:48 PM
The bullet going through means an exit wound. Exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and are almost always a very bad thing unless you are talking a flesh wound only slightly deeper than a graze. High velocity rounds produce exit wounds and high velocity wounds also mean shock wave damage far beyond what the bullet actually touched. If I were to have to be shot in the shoulder, I'd much prefer a lower velocity bullet that got lodged in a bone than a high velocity bullet that went all the way through.

GeorgeK's info is great, as always - he's a doctor.

Something else that could help your character is to have the bullet hit something else first. As she is a spy, I'd expect her to take cover when the gunfight starts. If the bullet ricochets off a brick wall or goes through a car door it will slow down and may break apart. You actually want something more like shrapnel because it is less likely to shatter bones.

Twick
07-10-2017, 06:53 PM
The "It's OK - just a shoulder wound" trope is one of those myths that Adam Savage should be called in on. The shoulder isn't a safe spot to be shot in. It's packed with bones, nerves, blood vessels and tendons. At best, your spy will have problems using that arm for a while. At worst, she'll bleed to death right on the spot.

CWatts' suggestion of being hit with shrapnel that lodges in a muscle rather than going straight through is a good one. IT would be quite painful and potentially incapacitating for a while, but much lower impact so you don't blow the entire shoulder joint apart. Plus you get the cool "fishing for the fragment" scene, which is always a good way to show how stoic your character is.

CWatts
07-10-2017, 08:28 PM
Plus you get the cool "fishing for the fragment" scene, which is always a good way to show how stoic your character is.

Exactly. I suggested a car door because of the myth they are bulletproof - they aren't unless the car has been specially armored, like some police cruisers (https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/03/10/fords-new-bulletproof-doors-will-protect-us-police-from-ak47-fire.html). Have to say, I also imagined a car chase with the OP's heroine trying to drive one-handed, especially if it's a manual transmission.

GeorgeK
07-10-2017, 11:45 PM
T Plus you get the cool "fishing for the fragment" scene, which is always a good way to show how stoic your character is.This is another pet peeve of mine, not because people didn't do it. Historically they did and still do, but it's really not a good idea to do it unless you are a surgeon. Most shrapnel is surprisingly benign in and of itself as long as it's not in a joint or compromising a nerve or artery. Also the heat of the expanding gasses that propelled the bullet heat it up to the point that they are generally sterile. An untrained person digging around for a bullet is more likely to cause more damage and induce infection than anything else.

lifetimescar
07-12-2017, 03:16 PM
Oh my God. All of you are so nice! And this is just the kind of information I was looking for! The only knowlegdge I have about gunshot wounds does, indeed, comes from movies. But I've always thought it was a bit too over the top. Now that I know what it actually happens when you get shot, I hope my writing will go much more smoother.

Honestly, I was a bit worried about posting on this website, but now I see I was worried about nothing. Thank you every single one of you that replied to this post!

MaeZe
07-12-2017, 09:33 PM
I'll add one more thing, if you are shot into or through a joint and you don't receive medical care (usually surgery), the joint is likely to fuse as it heals, meaning it will no longer function properly as a joint.

In addition both the humerus (upper arm bone) and the femur (thigh bone) are connected to some very strong muscles. Unlike other bones, fractures of these two often need traction to keep them aligned. Without traction the muscles pull the bones out of alignment.

Traction on a fractured humerus (http://midwestbonejoint.com/fractures/adult-humerus-shaft-fractures/) isn't as complicated as that on a femur, but it's still needed unless a surgical repair put the bone back together with hardware.
Both the hanging arm cast and the fracture brace allow the arm to hang by the side; the weight of the arm (and the cast) provides traction that aligns the bone fragments as they heal. You may have to sleep in a recliner for several weeks to allow the weight of the arm to continue to provide traction as you sleep. You may feel the bone fragments shift as you move; this usually stops by the third week after the fracture.

The easiest way to write this story is to have the bullet miss the bone.