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Trixiejane045
08-05-2017, 04:15 AM
Hi everyone! I'm currently writing a novel in which my MC gets shot by a sniper from a rooftop. It's not a huge distance. It's in present time, so all the medical procedures that exist now are available. I planned to have him shot in the Torso. So chest, or stomach area. Shot can be taken from any angle so could have an angled entry point. Not necessarily straight on. I'm looking for him to get shot somewhere were he falls unconscious and there is a lot of blood loss. One of those shots that look and feel fatal but is really lucky because it missed all the 'Important bits'. I'm looking for some specifics. If that is actually possible with a bullet going that speed. However the shot is taken through a large wall of glass windows so I'm assuming that would slow the bullet down slightly. Even set it off course but we're assuming the shooter is high profile and a good shot basically. The story is told in the perspective of my MC but is set in past tense. I would also love some info about medical treatments. Medication used, recovery time, ICU, specifics of what the bullet hit or missed. I don't need a lot of detail but some medical terms that my MC can overhear the nurses saying would be great. I would also love to get him out of hospital ASAP because obviously he has to figure out who shot him etc, to get on with the plot of the story. I appreciate any advice given. Thanks in advance.

JNG01
08-05-2017, 06:43 AM
A big part of the answer to your question is going to depend on what he's shot with. If he's shot with a pistol, taking a torso wound and surviving is very plausible. Step it up to an anemic rifle (say, for example, a .44 magnum lever-action or an AR-15), and it becomes less plausible, but still very possible. Step it up further to a high-powered rifle like a .338 or even a .308 (which is what is implied when you say "sniper") and long-term survival is possible, but relatively implausible.

There's a reason pistol wounds go to the emergency room, but rifle wounds usually go to the morgue. A 9mm pistol round carries about 350 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle. A 5.56mm round fired from an AR-15 carries about 1,300 ft-lbs of energy. A high-powered rifle (a "sniper rifle") like a .338 carries nearly 5,000 ft-lbs of energy. Think about that: getting shot once with a weak rifle round (like an AR-15) is energetically equivalent to being shot with about four 9mm pistol rounds. Getting shot once with a .338 is energetically equivalent to being shot with about four rounds from an AR-15, or about 14 rounds from a 9mm.

Terminal effect is more complicated than just energy, but the kinetic energy values give you an idea of the fact that rifles are orders of magnitude more destructive than pistols. If you want your hero to survive and have that survival be plausible, you'll want the bullet to pass through a very tough barrier first to slow it way, way down. Like maybe 2 or 3 feet or wood, or a quarter inch of steel. Or possibly bulletproof glass that just isn't quite rated for the caliber of rifle the shooter has. Then make it a marginal, glancing hit. You might be able to construct a scenario where's it's plausible that a very slowed-down fragment of the bullet rode the outside of a rib or glanced off of the pelvis without shattering it.

Unimportant
08-05-2017, 07:12 AM
If the victim gets shot in the arm or leg, unless there is rapid hemorrhage, they will likely survive (even if they lose a limb in the end). Shoulder, hip, ditto. It's fatal if you hit and destroy a major organ that you can't live without (brain, heart, lungs, liver) or hit a major blood vessel that causes hemorrhage. Nowadays, infection from a gut wound can be treated; historically, though, it'd be a slow and gruesome death.

Editing to add: depending on how fast-out-of-hospital is fast..... a blast through the abdomen can take out a kidney and cause a lot of bleeding, but rapid treatment/transfusions will sort the bleeding and you can live with one kidney. Ditto for spleen, which you can (mostly) live without.

But I don't know sod all about ballistics, so listen to the previous poster re bullets and guns and stuff.

WeaselFire
08-05-2017, 09:32 PM
If you need someone shot and live, have them shot in front of a large city trauma center. :)

Seriously, there is no place on the body where someone can be shot and not live. Location is no where near the only factor. Many thousands of people are shot in the USA alone each year, and the vast majority don't die. Death from gun violence isn't going down just because the number of people shot is going down, it's going down because the access to medical care and effective treatments are always improving.

To be fair, the total number being shot is going down as well, but the percentage who don't survive is dropping too, indicating that gunshot treatment is getting better over time.

So, decide on where your victim is shot and what treatment he gets, as well as the other factors for the story, based upon what you need the outcome to be. Simple bandage and off you go to debilitating and crippling lifetime injury or anywhere in between. Then find a street, building or other area that fits into your plot and determine what firearm would fit your characters best. Determine access to quality medical treatment for the victim. Decide on what time frame and what effects the wound needs to have to fit your story. Based on those factors you can choose where he is physically hit and what damages are done.

Jeff

Al X.
08-06-2017, 12:35 AM
I agree with JNG01. Torso and head shots by a rifle are usually fatal, even though torso shots may not necessarily be immediately incapacitating. Limb shots often result in the loss of that limb. At least that has been my experience.

Trixiejane045
08-06-2017, 05:16 AM
Hi! Yes thanks for the response. It's clear now I'll have to be a bit more creative. It's clearly not going to be that simple! Anyway thanks!

- - - Updated - - -

OK, thanks you for the advice!

Trixiejane045
08-06-2017, 05:20 AM
Hi, thank you so much. This was very helpful. I'm going to have to get more creative about the shot and try to figure out a way to slow the bullet down. What you said made a lot of sense and there's a lot of factual stuff here that I could use as well. So thank you so much!

MaeZe
08-06-2017, 06:15 AM
I agree with JNG01. Torso and head shots by a rifle are usually fatal, even though torso shots may not necessarily be immediately incapacitating. Limb shots often result in the loss of that limb. At least that has been my experience.

That's a bit of overgeneralizing I would think.

Philadelphia "Scoop and Run" Penetrating Trauma Victims Studied over Five-Year Period (https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2014/january/survival-rates-similar-for-gun)
The study, published online ahead of print in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, examined 4,122 patients taken to eight Level I and Level II adult trauma centers in Philadelphia between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007. Of these, 2,961 were transported by EMS and 1,161 by the police. The overall mortality rate was 27.4 percent. Just over three quarters (77.9 percent) of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, and just under a quarter (22.1 percent) suffered stab wounds. The majority of patients in both groups (84.1 percent) had signs of life on delivery to the hospital. A third of patients with gunshot wounds (33.0 percent) died compared with 7.7 percent of patients with stab wounds.Scoop and run is generally done for the most severe trauma.

JetFueledCar
08-06-2017, 08:00 AM
When I was writing a leader who wanted to bring a subordinate to heel but still have him useful in the future (they were mercenaries), I was told to shoot him in the a$$. The subordinate insisted to anyone who would listen that it was his *hip,* thank you very much.

However. That was a handgun, and that was also about five years ago. It sounds from the more recent information upthread like your biggest concern might be getting him out of the hospital quickly, rather than just keeping him alive.

I'll also mention that snipers in (IIRC) the military have two shooters. The first bullet breaks whatever glass is between them and the target; the second hits the target. I think I learned that on Cracked, and like the above, it may be out of date or may simply not apply since this is (presumably) not a military sniper. But as I've learned in part from this site, there is no such thing as too much information.

Trixiejane045
08-06-2017, 09:25 AM
Ok, so if someone were to get shot in the kidney, the kidney itself it would be removed right? From a pistol at a say, 10 metres distance. What kind of damage would that cause and how long would it take to recover?

JNG01
08-06-2017, 04:41 PM
That's a bit of overgeneralizing I would think.

Philadelphia "Scoop and Run" Penetrating Trauma Victims Studied over Five-Year Period (https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2014/january/survival-rates-similar-for-gun)Scoop and run is generally done for the most severe trauma.

I would point out that the overwhelming majority of gunshot wounds in urban areas, and thus the overwhelming majority of gunshot wounds in that study, are from pistols and not rifles.

CathleenT
08-06-2017, 06:09 PM
Yeah, a sniper would use a rifle. Many serious marksmen (or women in my case) have a bit of a sneering attitude toward pistols. Mine goes something like this: Really, why bother with a pistol? I want to hit what I'm aiming at.

Although to be fair, a sniper would sneer at my .22 rifle. But I bought it for coyotes and targets, not people. The real fun is getting ten rounds all within the first ring or two. (Did this this the first night of shooting after I finished up my ten-day waiting period. I was chuffed over it for days. I actually equaled my husband who was expert-rated in the military. Now that's fun.)

I bring this up just in case the sniper is a character in your story. I only started shooting rifles because I didn't have anyone to shoot arrows with anymore. It's really the quest for perfection that's the payoff for someone like this. :)

ETA: And TrixieJane, the amount of damage is a complicated answer. What kind of gun were they firing, and what ammunition were they using? Ammo can make all the difference in the world, even shooting the same gun.

JNG01
08-06-2017, 07:16 PM
Yeah, a sniper would use a rifle. Many serious marksmen (or women in my case) have a bit of a sneering attitude toward pistols. Mine goes something like this: Really, why bother with a pistol? I want to hit what I'm aiming at.

Although to be fair, a sniper would sneer at my .22 rifle. But I bought it for coyotes and targets, not people. The real fun is getting ten rounds all within the first ring or two. (Did this this the first night of shooting after I finished up my ten-day waiting period. I was chuffed over it for days. I actually equaled my husband who was expert-rated in the military. Now that's fun.)

I bring this up just in case the sniper is a character in your story. I only started shooting rifles because I didn't have anyone to shoot arrows with anymore. It's really the quest for perfection that's the payoff for someone like this.
ETA: And TrixieJane, the amount of damage is a complicated answer. What kind of gun were they firing, and what ammunition were they using? Ammo can make all the difference in the world, even shooting the same gun.

Come on, now. Not to hijack the thread, but most serious marksmen I know are serious about rifle, pistol, and shotgun. :tongue The rifle is clearly the more efficient weapon, but an AR-10 wil get you some funny looks if you carry one into a grocery store to grab a gallon of milk. A properly carried Glock 26, not so much.

Good point about ammunition. OP, there is a huge variety of bullet types and ammunition loads for each rifle. Some bullets are optimized for durability on impact, others for expansion, still others for uniformity (you can think of those three characteristics roughly as penetration, damage, and inherent accuracy). A bullet designed for expansion will dump a lot more of its kinetic energy into a soft target than a bullet designed for durability, but on the flip side an expansion bullet would also get slowed down much more by an intermediate barrier. A bullet designed for accuracy might be so frail that it shatters when it hits a bone and sends fragments anywhere.

There are a few marvel-of-technology bullets that do almost everything well, like Nosler Partitions and Barnes TSX. For the scenario you describe, you'll want to stay away from these.

Here's another question: is your sniper using a suppressed (silenced) rifle? If so, the ammunition would have to be subsonic (because suppressing the rifle blast does no good if the bullet makes a sonic boom). If that's a possibility, then research this caliber: .300 AC Blackout. This is a rifle caliber that is relatively accurate and common for deer hunting in some places, but is made in subsonic varieties for suppressed rifles. It's also a relatively heavy bullet, which means that you could shoot it into a barrier, slow it down a lot more, and still have most of it make it out the other side to tag your MC.

be frank
08-06-2017, 07:18 PM
The rifle is clearly the more efficient weapon, but an AR-10 wil get you some funny looks if you carry one into a grocery store to grab a gallon of milk. A properly carried Glock 26, not so much.


America is a very strange place.

armydillo978
08-06-2017, 07:41 PM
I got shot four times. Once in the head, once in left shoulder, and once in the left rib area, and then in the arm. Now, I had a helmet on.....I was in Iraq at the time, for the head shot. That gave me a concussion, knocket me right out....something cause a cut in my head and it bleed like I was in Hammer horror movie.....but the cut was maybe half an inch long when cleaned up. The one to the shoulder was blocked by body armor....so, is your character wearing anything similiar (are they being prepared)? Left a big bruise. The shot to my rib was blocked again by body armor....the steel plates blocked most of it, but it penetrated enough to break three of my ribs and left a bigger bruise and blood oozing out. Final one was in the arm, bleed like everything, but fine in the long run :) It's all fun and games until the shooting starts.

The guy in front of me got shot in the neck, went straight through. He didnt even notice until we told him he was bleeding. Like a sieve. We thought he was gonna bled out, but slapped some flied compresses on it.....applied a turnquit for pressure......actually that was a joke. :) But we applied pressure and kept it all together untill the medics arrived.

So, you can get shot in many places.....and it looks bad....but not terrible and be fine. So, it can appear to be worse than it is. A shooter might think they've got the kill if they see the victim fall, and blood spurt out. It's appearances.

Some of it will depend on the type of weapon, ammo used (steel jacketed, hollow point, lead tip, and so on) along with it's powder (low grain/high grain), distance, angle, and so on....you get the idea. Hell, the weather alone can affect it all. JNG1 brought up some good points.


As for the medical terms......meh.....I'm not sure what civilians use but I imagine it's similar to the military. Usually there was a lot of cussing.....lots of shouting.....and panic......even good troops get fired up when that adrenline hits.

Check this out....maybe it'll help
https://www.quora.com/Is-GSW-a-term-used-in-legitimate-medicine-to-mean-gunshot-wound-or-is-that-just-something-used-in-TV-shows

Al X.
08-06-2017, 08:27 PM
That's a bit of overgeneralizing I would think.

Philadelphia "Scoop and Run" Penetrating Trauma Victims Studied over Five-Year Period (https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2014/january/survival-rates-similar-for-gun)Scoop and run is generally done for the most severe trauma.


I would point out that the overwhelming majority of gunshot wounds in urban areas, and thus the overwhelming majority of gunshot wounds in that study, are from pistols and not rifles.

Exactly. We used to joke that our pistols were really for ourselves, should we get overrun.

frimble3
08-10-2017, 12:35 AM
Ok, so if someone were to get shot in the kidney, the kidney itself it would be removed right? From a pistol at a say, 10 metres distance. What kind of damage would that cause and how long would it take to recover?I don't know if you mean damage from the gunshot, or from the loss of the kidney, but although IANAM, my dad lost a kidney, through surgery, for medical reasons, and went on to live a normal life, until he died of something else, 20 years later.

GeorgeK
08-10-2017, 11:28 PM
Ok, so if someone were to get shot in the kidney, the kidney itself it would be removed right? From a pistol at a say, 10 metres distance. What kind of damage would that cause and how long would it take to recover?
If treated by a general surgeon yes, if treated by a urologist, no.

GeorgeK
08-10-2017, 11:32 PM
All of life ranges between the benign and the lethal. Everything is possible whether or not it is likely. You can write anything, and as long as when appropriate the authorities are appropriately amazed at the outcome it can work.

There is no, "safe place to be shot," yet people survive

Twick
08-15-2017, 07:37 PM
America is a very strange place. I was thinking the same thing.

More directly related to the question, it occurred to me if the main requirement was "shot at and received relatively minor (as in non-killing) injury," how about a bullet narrowly misses, hits something hard and the character is hit by shrapnel? This would eliminate the tissue damage from a high-speed projectile.

GeorgeK
08-16-2017, 02:05 AM
I was thinking the same thing.

More directly related to the question, it occurred to me if the main requirement was "shot at and received relatively minor (as in non-killing) injury," how about a bullet narrowly misses, hits something hard and the character is hit by shrapnel? This would eliminate the tissue damage from a high-speed projectile.Or following that idea. jumping early enough that the assailant misses but the character gets impaled on something else making it just seem like they had been shot

Diomedes
08-16-2017, 06:49 PM
Or following that idea. jumping early enough that the assailant misses but the character gets impaled on something else making it just seem like they had been shot

That sounds comically ironic.

Ashmash467
01-21-2018, 02:58 PM
Okay now the big question. What does it feel like to get shot? Because obviously if the guy is supposed to survive I’m assuming it feels like getting kicked in the gut, or wherever you get shot. But does anyone know a cop or firefighter or nurse or anyone who could get accurate descriptions of said shooting pains? Because I feel like shooting pain, or kick in the gut, is overly used. But I could be wrong. Anyone?

Bufty
01-22-2018, 03:48 PM
Hi Ashmash.

At the bottom left of every page is a Google custom site search box. Enter whatever phrase you wish and you will get a list of topic related threads. Higher the reference number means the more recent the thread. It can often give a quick response to a question like this one. Try entering- Shot- what it feels like- or whatever you choose and see what comes up.

Just a :welcome: heads up.

PVick
01-23-2018, 04:24 AM
So, for treatment the character’s going to be transfused with blood and fluids. He’ll have to go to surgery to get the bullet out (although from previous comments it sounds like it will have passed through), clean out the wound, and repair the organs and blood vessels as much as possible. The abdomen and chest cavities are great incubators for bacteria so the character will then be on IV antibiotics until the MDs feel he’s not developed an infection and then he’ll go home on oral prophylactic antibiotics. Gonna be getting some dilaudid and/or morphine for pain

ICU time really depends on what got hit. If it’s just blood loss he’ll be out of the ICU in into a general med/surg hospital room once surgery gets him patched up and they transfuse enough blood into him; maybe a day or two total. If his lung gets hit he’ll probably be sedated and intubated which would require a much longer time in the ICU.

Once he’s out of the ICU and into a med/surg bed they’ll discharge him once they rule out an infection, feel like the wound is healed enough to be cared for at home or nursing facility, have his pain under control, and address things like a rehab plan. Depending on what organs are hit it could be longer; if the intestines are hit infection is a huge concern and it could take some time for normal GI function to return. For a healthy young guy with a bad GSW I doubt he’d be out much before two weeks.

A bullet to the kidney is going to bleed a ton and probably have to be removed. It’ll hurt, but it won’t cause a person to lose consciousness until they lose enough blood. Barring infection and damage to other organs I’d wager 1.5-2 weeks in the hospital with only a few days in the ICU. However, if you’re impatient and he’s a badass he would be physically capable of leaving Against Medical Advice (AMA) after maybe a week.

In the ambulance he might hear the radio report to the hospital, something along the lines of:
“Ambulance 43 enroute with an [age] male, GSW (GunShot wound) to [location] with major hemorrhage. BP (blood pressure) 88/40, Pulse 114. Running IV NS (Normal saline fluid) open to gravity. In and out of consciousness and unresponsive. We’re running code three (lights and sirens) ETA [minutes].”

I haven’t spent any time in the trauma room (yet) but trauma MDs are pretty calm. Can’t help with any specific dialogue there, but the RN giving report to the arriving MD would follow a similar script with maybe a bit more background.

DrDoc
01-23-2018, 06:46 PM
When I was a medic in Vietnam I treated a patient who had just been shot in the throat by an irate bar patron. I arrived about a minute after he was shot didn't see much bleeding. I feared he was bleeding internally instead. The MPs rushed him and I to the hospital and he went into the OR. I was surprised when four hours later he came walking out into the ER and asked for a ride to his base. The doc walked out and looked at me and said "Never seen anything like it." He said the bullet went completely through his neck "...and all it did was take out his tonsils." There were the two entry wounds (one entry- and one exit wound on the outside of the neck and one entry and one exit wound in the oesophagus) that needed a couple of stitches. The guy had a neck brace to keep him from rotating his neck but said he could go back to his company.

It was probably a one in a billion event, but he actually walked away from it.

DrDoc