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Lily the Thief
01-05-2018, 07:03 AM
Alright, so I need a bit of help. One of my characters, Seth, was recently very badly injured with an arrow during a fight. Here's some basic information:
Seth is supposedly 13, however in human years he's roughly 15. Seth is what is called an Ala, basically a human with wings (similar to eagle wings just proportionate to a human) and he is also very fit and kinda short (though the wings make up for it).
The arrow punctured through his right side below the ribcage. The tip punched through above his left hip, although the arrow didn't pass through and the fletching was still sticking out on the right (this being a rather long arrow). I know he'll have extra blood to lose seeing as the wings require him to have more blood. I did write that he was bleeding pretty heavily, he also collapsed instantaneously and was semi-conscious in less than a minute. The arrow was also removed, the head broken off and then the shaft pulled out. By that point Seth had passed out.
He was shot around 6 in the morning, after sleeping for about 12 hours and eating an hour earlier. He didn't eat much so I think his stomach is pretty empty. After his passing out I'm not sure how long Seth had been unconscious, I just wanted to know how much it would hurt when he woke up (after an unknown period of time) and what lingering effects the injury might have.
This is also a world of magic, however he wasn't insta-healed since the guy who captured him kinda wanted Seth to experience lots of pain. Seth had kinda been a little nuisance to him.
So any help on that would be greatly appreciated.

lonestarlibrarian
01-05-2018, 07:36 AM
Out of curiosity, can you link to an image of the kind of arrow you're thinking of?

Unless you're talking about a target-practice arrow, most arrowheads I think of are barbed, which means that they're specifically designed do enormous amounts of damage and injury. If you're lucky that the barbs don't get caught on something and prevent the arrow from passing through, you're still going to have honkin' ugly entry and exit wounds, and they have very large cutting surfaces.

I don't have a medical background, but I've shot crossbow with blunt bolts. I can't imagine shooting anyone with real arrows and ending up with a "pretty" injury that resolves itself in a matter of days/weeks/months. I'm thinking more like permanent damage, if not death. But then again, I'm also thinking about the arrows historically used for war and hunting game (http://www.longbow-archers.com/arrowheads.html)... and a lot of them are illegal for such purposes these days, because they're so brutal.

abrowne
01-05-2018, 09:20 AM
So, to be clear, the arrow went through his belly? In under his right-side ribs and out by his left-side hip? Or am I misunderstanding?

I'm not a medical professional, but I do have a lot of experience butchering game animals, and I can tell you there is no spare space in there. If you puncture the muscle wall and aren't being VERY slow and careful about it, you're guaranteed to also puncture the stomach or intestines. Which means a slow and painful death. There aren't any good places to shoot someone with an arrow, but if you have magic healing in your world, go for a muscle wound.

taraesque
01-05-2018, 09:34 AM
I agree that an arrow that was intended to kill would be barbed and cause a huge amount of damage. I would say the barbed arrows I have seen are at least an inch in diameter with 4 barbs. Any arrow shaft between the right rib cage and the left hip would have to be pretty lucky to not hit an organ or major artery, especially with such a large entry wound. That sort of injury would almost certainly be instantly fatal.

Perhaps a leg or arm wound would allow Seth to lose enough blood to pass out, but not one that would kill him. Also, I think having a wound caused by an arrow to the knee would still take months to heal and be quite painful for quite some time.

Twick
01-05-2018, 09:24 PM
If this world has our level of medical (non-magic) tech, he's into surgery immediately, and will be incapacitated for a long while.

If it's early tech, he's probably going to die slowly and painfully.

Now, if you've got magic, you can do what you want, within the confines you set for the magic system. You could have, say, anti-infection spells, muscle and organ healing spells, and pain spells. Maybe the guy who wants him to suffer allows the first two types but not the last?

Lily the Thief
01-05-2018, 09:26 PM
If you're lucky that the barbs don't get caught on something and prevent the arrow from passing through, you're still going to have honkin' ugly entry and exit wounds, and they have very large cutting surfaces.

I don't have a medical background, but I've shot crossbow with blunt bolts. I can't imagine shooting anyone with real arrows and ending up with a "pretty" injury that resolves itself in a matter of days/weeks/months.

Seth is supposed to have very ugly scars from this incident even some thirteen years later. They're described as the size of his fist. It literally says 'an ugly pinkish scar the size of his fist just above the hip.'.


So, to be clear, the arrow went through his belly? In under his right-side ribs and out by his left-side hip? Or am I misunderstanding?

You are not misunderstanding, my friend. That's exactly what I said.


I agree that an arrow that was intended to kill would be barbed and cause a huge amount of damage. I would say the barbed arrows I have seen are at least an inch in diameter with 4 barbs. Any arrow shaft between the right rib cage and the left hip would have to be pretty lucky to not hit an organ or major artery, especially with such a large entry wound. That sort of injury would almost certainly be instantly fatal.

Yeah, I've already done some research on this sort of thing and by all realistic science Seth should be dead. However, there is the added bonus of magic, so...

abrowne
01-06-2018, 01:38 AM
Well, we can't tell you what's possible with the magic system in your world. All anyone else can say is what's true in our world, which is that that particular injury would kill him without rapid and excellent modern medical care. There is no path an arrow could take through a person's belly without putting big holes in their stomach and/or intestines. Think of the abdomen as being packed with full water balloons, except the stuff in the water balloons is, you know, fecal matter. (Or on its way to becoming such.) Which will lead rapidly to life-threatening infection. It is also, anecdotally speaking, supposed to be the most painful kind of lethal injury. (Incidentally, his stomach being empty isn't super relevant. There still isn't a whole bunch of empty space in there for an arrow to pass through; it just means everything contracts. Again, visualize a water balloon--pour some water out, but the balloon is still full of water, it's just smaller now.)

So the priorities for your magic will be to repair the punctured organs and provide impeccable antibiotic care. How much it hurts and what lingering effects it will have will depend on what magic healing he receives. As Twick pointed out, the easiest way would probably be to provide little or no painkilling magic, but otherwise heal him. The question then becomes--how much pain does your magic healing leave? Perhaps your character's opponent could leave the muscle minimally healed? (An open muscle wall would lead, again, to infection.) You're pretty safe assuming the pain level will be "extreme beyond all belief," if that helps. I had knee surgery this summer and it took dilaudid, 2 doses of fentanil, and 2 doses of oxy in the short time after surgery before it got down to a manageable level--and that was, obviously, just a knee.

Bren McDonnall
01-06-2018, 05:14 PM
Spelled arrow, maybe? Simple field tip with some sort of necrotic spell (like spider venom) attached. Arrow hits, poison brings him down, necrotic action eats away at surrounding tissue to create gnarly scar.

Cath
01-07-2018, 12:07 AM
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CWatts
01-07-2018, 01:33 AM
Obviously this is neither medieval nor magic, but here are case records of arrow wounds from the Wild West era. The Cooper case might be particularly relevant as he survived an arrow that entered his side and came out near his navel. https://archive.org/stream/b21970695#page/154/mode/1up

Bren McDonnall
01-07-2018, 08:29 AM
The forum guidelines (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?248198-Forum-Guidelines-Please-read-before-posting) aren’t there for fun, folks.


Please keep your replies based in facts and experience. Thank you.


Okay. Arrows do not kill with trauma, they kill through blood loss. Modern hunting arrows maximize this through bladed heads-- as in razor sharp and wide, slicing large wound channels. It isn't common for a target to drop over dead as with a bullet. Creatures killed with arrows typically have to be tracked as they flee and eventually drop from blood loss.

The era in which the arrow is created, and the people who create it define the shape and size of the arrow. Stone age peoples chipped out small heads from chert, flint, or stone. Medieval peoples used iron or steel, and the war heads were slightly larger, depending on who was to be the target. Arrowheads designed to punch through armor were completely different (as were the arrows) from hunting arrows or war arrows designed to kill common soldiers wearing softer armor.

Death came from blood loss (if you were lucky) or sepsis (if you weren't) Wounds that would, today, be considered moderate would have been fatal in primitive times.

Poisoned arrows were and are a thing. There are South American aboriginals who use fairly weak bows with very light, but poisoned arrows (or blowguns with poisoned darts) to bring down game. In these cases, it's the poison that does the killing, not the arrow/dart.

Therefore, the OP cannot be answered without a more in depth assessment of the era and level of technology present in the story.

Cyia
01-07-2018, 08:48 AM
The amount of pain is going to depend on a muscle vs. organ injury. The addition of wings is going to add *several* thousand calories a day to his necessary nutritional intake, if those wings are capable of flight. You also need to consider the effect an injury such as this will have on a bipedal mammal with hollow bones. Hollow bones are a necessity for maintaining a body mass and weight that's slight enough to achieve lift.

When a human is injured in such a way, the body repairs the damage and works to replace the lost blood. Our blood is manufactured in our bone marrow, so are certain stem cells, but without bone marrow (how bones are hollow), you've got to figure out how your Ala is going to be able to heal.

CWatts
01-07-2018, 07:29 PM
A good resource on late-medieval arrow wounds is the treatment of Prince Hal (future Henry V) after he took an arrow to the face at the Battle of Shrewsbury.
https://youtu.be/C8Nef1siUus

braveboy
01-08-2018, 09:12 AM
here https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1080-arrow-points-to-foul-play-in-ancient-icemans-death/
is a description of a 5,300 year old death from an arrowhead. It describes what happened to Otzi, the mummified body found up in the Italian alps. in modern times he would be described as having been in a running gun fight, but he was in a more silent, but just as deadly fight.

WeaselFire
01-08-2018, 05:43 PM
... I just wanted to know how much it would hurt when he woke up (after an unknown period of time) and what lingering effects the injury might have.

How pain tolerant is this creature and what specific damage did the arrow do? Without those two bits of information, the question can't be answered.

So instead, look at it backwards. What pain do you need the character to feel for the story? And what lingering effects do you need him to have for the story? When you know that, write the wound/injury to fit.

Jeff

PVick
01-08-2018, 09:00 PM
So, if the arrow went in the right side just under the ribs you'd risk it hitting the liver, which is very vascular in general but is also fed by some very major blood vessels; it's going to bleed like crazy. If the arrow continues down at an angle towards the hip it's going to pierce the intestines. Those bleed too, but the real danger is that you now have intestinal contents (poop) in your abdominal cavity, which leads to major infection, sepsis and death. This will happen even if the arrow just nicks the intestines. The pain increases as sepsis progresses and the person wouldn't die right away. A young healthy guy wouldn't die from sepsis for a few days at least.

Gut wounds are a pretty messy and painful way to die, but assuming the arrow doesn't hit any major vessels in the liver and he gets some descent first aid to stop the bleeding Seth probably wouldn't die out right. He'd linger for a few days until the infection gets him. We'd treat that in the hospital with tons of antibiotics and IV fluids, but I'm sure magic could work just as well.

I'm not sure about pain from arrow wounds, but after abdominal surgery patients wake up in immense pain that is initially controlled with heavy narcotics. After a few days they are weaned down off the pain meds, but moving is still very painful. That's for surgery with nice clean cuts; an arrow wound would have to be much more painful. Abdominal infections are also very painful, particularly with any movement or jarring of the abdomen. Add the two together and anything hitting Seth's abdomen or require he use his abs is going to be excruciating.

Long term, I'd worry about his intestines healing up well enough to stop leaking and pass food along. Again, in the hospital they'd be repaired surgically, but maybe he'd be alright on his own (or magic). The liver's the one organ that can regrow so as long as it's not too damaged I'd be less worried about it.

JNG01
01-21-2018, 05:07 AM
I can share a fair bit of experience from archery hunting deer, which weigh about as much as and have a relevant degree of biological similarity to a human.

First, the arrow and its terminal performance. Most hunting-type broadheads are wicked, wicked sharp, with a cutting radius somewhere between 3/4 inch and 2 inches. The arrow kills not by puncturing as much as by cutting--on a good shot, loss of consciousness comes within the first minute from blood loss from all the stuff cut by the arrowhead blade on the way through, and the animal (or person) dies before they wake up. On a bad shot--like the one made on your character--death can take hours (and if nothing too vascular is hit and fat plugs the entry/exit holes, days). I once made a bad shot on a deer--similar in placement to the one you are describing--and that deer was nearly a half mile away and still alive and moving (albeit with difficulty) when I finally tracked it down six hours later.

Humans (like deer) are relatively small and thin-skinned. Even with old-tech non-compound wood bows, a complete pass-through of the arrow would be expected. The only reason you wouldn't get a complete pass-through would be if the range was extreme (more than sixty or seventy yards), the arrow deflected off something hard while in flight, or the arrowhead got caught in a heavy bone in the target. More of an fyi than anything else, but it's worth knowing.

I've helped track a few gut shot large animals, and they all shared a few common characteristics. First, they remained conscious for a long time and were able to move--but moved slowly (No reason to be unconscious--with a slow bleed, blood pressure remains high enough to support consciousness for a long time). Second, they grew weaker over time and laid down for the last time (but were still conscious) after around eight hours. Third, when they stopped moving and laid down, they stiffened up and became unable to get up again. Fourth, they died within twenty four hours of the shot.

So based on hunting experience, I'd say a realistic response would be that your character remain conscious but in enormous pain, growing weaker and less lucid over time due to internal bleeding and increasing sepsis. He'd need some kind of magical medical attention to address the internal bleeding and the sepsis before the sepsis got too out of hand, or he'd be a goner.