1. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30

    Can You Help Me Choose A Cause of Death?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Show, Jun 1, 2009.

    I wasn't sure where this would go so I guessed it'd fit here.

    Ok, I'm looking for a specific way to kill off my character. The character is a seven year old boy. I need something that happens on Monday and will allow him to survive in the hospital(with consciousness) until Saturday, when it'll finally kill him. (Sounds kind of crazy but it's the idea I came up with, and I need to stick to it) So basically, I need something that will hospitalize him, and kill him by the end of the week(Thus something the doctors can't fix), while still allowing him to be conscious until the end.

    Now, I can't think of something that would fit this bill. I've settled on it happening at school, but I can't decide if it should be some act of violence, or some latent sickness/defect activating in him. But I can't really think of anything that wouldn't kill him right there on the spot or very shortly after, something that wouldn't leave him in a coma/brain dead, or something that the doctors wouldn't be able to realistically treat, What the culprit is is fairly irrelevant. As long as it realistically falls within my limits, it should work with the plot I have set up. But the problem is that my limits kind of rule out anything I've really found.

    So can ya'll help me out with thinking of ways to kill this kid that realistically meet those(admittedly strict) demands? Yes, I know they are whacko but the writer in me tells me that's how it oughta be(I have little control over what he does lol). So, now I need help rationalizing what he's mapped out in my head.
     
  2. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico
    swine flu.
     
  3. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Can that believably be fatal though? It seems the death toll is very low because it's very treatable.
     
  4. Time Glitch
    Offline

    Time Glitch Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    *snap*

    Got it.

    Have him accidentally stab himself with a pencil. Instead of pulling it out, it gets broken, and chunks of graphite start flowing around in his blood. He goes to the hospital for the wound (It'd have to be one hell of a stab with a pencil, like falling on it or something), and ends up getting graphite poisoning. While this is treatable, what isnt is the fact that there are fragments of wood and graphite that get lodged in his heart. When they try to operate, he bleeds out and dies.

    Happy writing!
     
  5. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Is there any way to have somebody else stab him? (Say, a bully) It'd work better with the story than having him be at fault for it. That does sound like a good idea, maybe as close as I will get. It still has a few issues though.

    I was kind of hoping to have him conscious up until his death, but with his family realizing that he will die soon.(And thus, he sort of figures it out too) It is the backbone of most of the story. Having him go into surgery and just die on the table sort of hacks out a lot of the story. I like your idea. Is there any way to work that idea so that they realize that he will die, say, a day or two before he actually does, but can't do anything, and so there is a lot of drama of him and his family/friends preparing for his death?

    Sorry for being so particular. lol I really cannot help it. I just have this scenario in my head, but I am lacking a believable way to bring it about. The scenario requires the boy to be conscious up until his death, but with the doctors unable to do anything to save him, and tell his family that he only has so much time left. The circumstances make up a bulk of the story. I have most of it planned out. What I am lacking is a plausible event that make the circumstances possible and so far nothing seems to work.

    And if anybody else has a suggestion, feel free to let me know.
     
  6. Time Glitch
    Offline

    Time Glitch Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Oh of course.

    Lets go one further, and say a colored pencil. He and a bigger kid get into a fight over a certain color, and eventually the fight gets violent, and he gets stabbed with it.

    They'll cure him of graphite poisoning, and tell his parents that he has reminents left in his heart that if left alone, probably will kill him. So it's either eventual death, or surgery. Parents of course go with surgery, and perhaps when they're removing the wood or whatever, something goes haywire, and the kid dies.

    The good thing about having something lodged somewhere that could potentially kill you is that the victim is still concious. It's not like it's in his brain, keeping him in a coma or anything =).
     
  7. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Hmmm, it works better. But the surgery thing still doesn't go with the end scene I had in mind. I guess I could think of a way for the surgery to not happen, like the main surgeon having a heart attack or their insurance running out. Then as you said, it would be left alone and he'd die.

    Question: Is there some way to spin it so that they'd say that due to something, he'd be unable to survive surgery at all because he's too weak, so that there is nothing they can do? If they operate, he dies, if they don't operate, he'd die. (So they decide to give him one final night with his family and choose not to operate, causing an immediate death) Would that scenario be able to work?

    The pencil stabbing scenario works excellently with what I had in mind for the incident. It's just the last part that still needs a bit of tweaking.

    Thanks for your help thus far.
     
  8. Mercurial
    Offline

    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,453
    Likes Received:
    117
    What about an unknown allergic reaction? He's young, so that's realistic, isnt it?
    Perhaps a surgery is scheduled, but before the surgery can be performed, he dies because of an allergic reaction to anesthesia or medicine or simply even a food he'd been given from the hospital cafeteria he'd never eaten before killed him off?
    Or, perhaps a surgery isnt even needed. Off home he goes, to die the very same night.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Does it need to be known that he will die?

    He could be hospitalized with a broken leg. Perhaps some neck trauma as well, to keep him in the hospital instead of sending him home. He could die a few days later from a pulmonary embolism - it does happen sometimes from a broken bone, when a clot forms then breaks loose and travels to the lungs, and it happens suddenly.
     
  10. TheNewGuy
    Offline

    TheNewGuy Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    America
    The BLACK PLAGUE!

    Or a new strain anyway, has suddenly sprung up when this boy was stabbed with a pencil previously owned by an infected nose-picker. The graphite/chalk will just cause further complications, but the plague will weakena nd then kill him.

    Presumably, he would be placed under quarantine and the entire country would go Def-Con whatever.

    I don't know. It would take a week.
     
  11. A2theDre
    Offline

    A2theDre Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Australia
    Without researching, I would offer meningitis or pneumonia. Not sure on timeframes or levels of consciousness, however!
     
  12. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    To the reader? Not necessarily, although it's not intended to be a shock either. Still, I could understand the reader holding out hope for a miracle until the end.

    The charcters? Yes, I'd like it for them to know he's dying cause it makes way for the story my warped mind thought up. Sort of the idea of knowing death is coming for your child, but being powerless to stop it. And once more, they're conscious and figuring out what's going on so they got all these fears and stuff. Trying to describe it at this stage is difficult, but for the characters, I'd prefer them knowing he's alive.

    Now, I could reduce the time easily. Surviving a week might be too long. If I can find something with the same effect that will have him survive a day or two, I'd work it in. I'd just have it happen on a Friday or something. So if an idea can more easily fit that shorter timeframe, any help any one can give would be appreciated.

    Meningitis could work if all else fails. But I am still trying to find a way to make the pencil thing work cause I like it. Maybe if I shorten the timeframe, it'll be more workable with the story. I am not usually one concerned with absolute realism but with this, I at least want the scenario to be plausible.
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The kinds of things that come to my mind in that case are exposure to certain toins or radioactive material, which cause widespread and irreversible systemic damage. Exposure to fluorine is particularly nasty - internal burns, bone erosion, internal hemorrhaging, fluids oozing into the lungs, multiple organ failure over a span of hours to days.

    But how a child would be exposed to something that dangerous and reactive...

    There is also ebola.
     
  14. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    I'm confused as to what the situation is with the child. The focus is that of the his family and himself coping with the knowledge he is dying.

    He has to die a slow quick death. I was going to suggest something along the lines of Leukemia, or maybe an aggressive cancer tumor in some inoperable spot.

    Could he have been healthy before, and then is hit by a car, beat up, or some how injured? How about internal bleeding and or swelling? I'm not sure what they couldn't repair, but maybe the hospital doesn't catch it right away, and he moves beyond the ability to repair it.

    If you want them to know he is going to die, a sudden discovery of a terminal illness would probably work well.
     
  15. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Yes, a slow quick death. The situation is that something happens(be it a sudden manifestation of an illness, an accident, or an act of violence) and he is hospitalized where it is quickly determined that he's dying very soon, and there's nothing they can do. The kid is also conscious until he dies. A lot of the story surrounds copings with it. From the mother and brother's coping with it, to helping a boy cope with his own death. I just need something to ignite the events, and I haven't settled on what just yet.


    In hindsight, I ammend my restrictions to a day's time. It can be a day and work better, rather than a week. Leukemia seemed possible, but they can at least try to treat that. And I don't know much about tumors, hence why I'm asking here. Any suggestions for inoperable brain tumors that could believably be discovered today and kill you tomorrow?

    An accident/violence act would work for me too. It would also help with making it more tragic as it didn't have to happen. I just am having trouble thinking of something to fit the timeline. In today's medical advancements, I would assume they'd catch internal bleeding, wouldn't they? I guess I could work it, somehow. I just am not familiar with medical aspects at all and want this to at least be something people can swallow. I wouldn't want a ton of medical implausibilities to get in the way of the story.

    All of those things came to my mind, believe me. But I don't know much about any. Everything I seem seems to bring up issues I haven't figured out how to resolve. If he's been sick, wouldn't there be signs?

    Anyway, thanks for all the help thus far. Any further help anybody can offer will be appreciated.
     
  16. TheNewGuy
    Offline

    TheNewGuy Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    America
    Give 'im cancer, then let them try to treat it (didn't find out till the last minute). The family has to cope, trying to believe that he the treatment will work.

    It won't? He dies.
     
  17. WingedPen
    Offline

    WingedPen New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Have the boy contract MRSA once he is already in the hospital. If you're going with graphite poisoning, or any type of poisoning in general, his immune system is already going to be compromised (being a child will make it even worse), and he will be hospitalized for certain, leaving him wide open for an infection by a hospital superbug. Depending on the strength of the infection and the damage inflicted to his immune system, you could have him die within a day, a week, or anywhere in between...

    Have one of the surgeons working on him be either inexperienced, neglect to wash his hands before operating (maybe deliberately...), highly stressed by a previous patent (who may have just died on the table or worsened dramatically), or caught in a desperate situation mid-surgery. All it takes is one dirty instrument or hand...

    Of course, this is easy to work in with other problems, and you could use it as an easy to explain and likely complication, which weakens him to the point that the primary condition will kill him. Conversely, hit him with a condition that is dangerous in it's own right, weakens his immune system, but is nonlethal by itself, and use that to set up the MRSA infection, which is what would actually kill him.
     
  18. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    That sounds like it could work great. Although I don't know much about MRSA. How would they know he has it?(Like are there certain symptoms?) Are there any less specific infections which would have the same effect? I really like that idea. It seems to be a good way to build from the pencil stabbing.

    The surgeon idea sounds workable too. It'd require some thought to make work, but I guess it could be workable.

    The only thing is that I need to learn a bit more about MRSA if that has to be the type of infection specifically. If I can learn that, I might be able to start hammering this out.

    BTW, if he has MRSA, would he have to be quarantined? Cause isolating him from people sort of gets in the way of a few scenes I had in mind.(Especially the climax which requires his immediate family present.)
     
  19. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    MRSA is a staphylococcus infaction that is resistant to antibiotics. It usually begins from surgical procedures where less than adequate sterility protocols are observed. secondary infection is by contact, so the quarantine requirements are not extreme (no risk of airborne infection).

    There is no such thing as graphite poisoning. graphite is only carbon, and is not toxic. A pencil stab wound is dangerous because it is a puncture wound. Puncture wounds are easily infected but difficult to cleanse of te infection.

    Another possibility is a rabies infection. After it passes a certain point, it is no longer treatable and the patient will die from the progressive neurological damage. If the rabies infection was not recognized early, the child migt not be diagnosed in time to save him.
     
  20. WingedPen
    Offline

    WingedPen New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm sure there are other infections with the same or similar effect - you can even just say it's a hospital superbug in general if you don't want to get too specific. The advantage with MRSA is that it's famous, deadly, and feared, making it easy for readers to recognize. Of course, it's extremely infectious, which is why I'm wondering about other superbugs that could have a similar effect while being less contagious. If you want to try a different hospital pathogen, I think the research section would be great for finding that specific disease.

    As I've implied before, I do think he'll need to be quarantined (and this would apply to most diseases), especially with this - Staph itself is highly contagous, and MRSA even more so. That it's infamous and feared would only increase this chance. If you want to use MRSA with your current climax, you could have him speaking through a radio, phone, and/or body language to his family on the other side.

    If used right, this could add an extra dimension to the climax - wanting to comfort your dying son but being held back, struggling with the helplessness and pain of not being able to even stand by him, maybe fighting off an urge to break through the quarantine on the family's end, trying to express all your emotions and thoughts across the boundaries, etc. If you specifically need the family in the room, then I would recommend finding another deadly, but less contagious, disease.

    If you're interested in using MRSA, or just a hospital superbug in general, Wikipedia is always a great place to start. The CDC's website (www.cdc.gov), MayoClinic (www.mayoclinic.com), and WebMD (www.webmd.com) are all good places to check out too. I honestly don't know much about this, so I highly recommend you look it up and/or ask in the research section. :)

    Edit: So I was wrong, Cognito? This makes it even better... I'm just wondering - aren't most people vaccinated against Rabies already? It would be especially gruesome and terrifying, but I remember Rabies taking several months, even years, before reaching that critical point. Does the disease somehow accelerate once reaching the untreatable phase? Can something occur to cause it to spread a lot faster?
     
  21. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Well, that works easily enough. I guess nobody would question if a puncture wound from a pencil turned fatal. Where is the best place to have him stabbed so that the infection kills him and not the actual stabbing itself?

    Thanks for the research.

    Yes, having the family in the room is pretty important to the climax.(It's very cliche, but it's also very realistic, IMO) I also wanted scenes of others in the room. (ie His teacher, whom he confronts with the question that his family doesn't want to answer, "Am I going to die?" Another scene involves the local priest.) Both scenes require them to be present in the room so quarantining him with something serious might not fit with the plot my brain has mapped out.

    I'll try to research some other superbugs that are less contagious but just as deadly. Thanks for the links. And I'm open to any ideas you have that could help me.
     
  22. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The abdomin. A rip in the peritoneal sack can cause peritonitis, which can be difficult to treat, especially if the patient is allergic to pennicillin or other antibiotics.
     
  23. Atma
    Offline

    Atma Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Uhm, what if he is hospitalised for insomnia, but it doesnt become any better and his body shuts down due to exhaustion? :/ just a thought! lol. I just read about insomnia diseases (dont ask why) and it stuck to my mind. But usually dementia occurs along with the insomnia, and I doubt you'd want the cute ickle 7 year old to be demented :S
     
  24. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    That could work. I'll look into that one definitely.

    Yeah, lol. :D If he loses the sweet factor, the story wouldn't work.
     
  25. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Questions About A Specific Infection

    Edit: Sorry to the person who told me to start a thread in the research section. It didn't work, as evidenced. lol Disregard this post if you've read the first one.


    Well, this is an extension from my other post. I started this upon a recommendation from somebody who posted in that thread. I've for the most part settled on the cause of death of my 7-year old being from a pencil stab wound that gets infected due to doctor negligence. Somebody suggested some hospital superbug and I can go for that. They suggested MRSA but that doesn't work too well cause of it's high contagion factor.

    Problem is that I know nothing about infections. So can anybody suggest a specific infection that could believably be contracted by this and kill the boy within a day or two, while keeping him conscious? I'd prefer something that doesn't require quarantine due to the nature of the climax.

    So can anybody help me come up with a believable infection to be contracted this way? (And can you help with symptoms as well?) Thanks
     

Share This Page