1. jmh105
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    jmh105 Member

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    How long would it take for a (lower back) gunshot wound to heal?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by jmh105, Mar 9, 2016.

    Hey, everyone, I have a scenario in which there is a gang shootout and my protagonist is shot in the back. If this happens, it would be a non-mortal wound and he would (possibly) receive professional medical care.

    How long would it take for him to heal? Would another injury (i.e. a punch) to the gut more likely result in more internal bleeding? I'm not sure whether or not to employ this plot point because later, the same character gets into a fist fight (or, rather, a brawl). I am worried that this would result in further injury that might hold the rest of the plot back.

    The benefit, however, of putting in this gunshot experience as a plot point is that it will reveal my character's insecurities in certain ways. One such way lies in how the doctor deals with him and my character's thoughts about it.

    Is there a way I can put this point in so that I can reveal some heavy character development elements without injuring my character too much?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You can write it any way you want, pick a bullet trajectory to match your story:

    muscle
    muscle and bone like a rib
    abdomen
    abdomen plus ruptured intestine
    lung
    major blood vessel
    spleen, liver, kidney, pancreas
    spine, no spinal cord
    spine, other major nerve root
    spine, some spinal cord

    Take your pick. Also, it need not be a straight line anatomically. Bullets often take turns once they enter one's body, deflecting off bones, going in the back, coming out the side.
     
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  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    ^ What she said... I scrubbed most of my post as it'd just be repetition. Blah.
    I could add though factoring in the calibre of the bullet and the distance it came from. That makes a difference to the severity of the injury.
     
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  4. jmh105
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    jmh105 Member

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    Thanks for the ideas and outline of bullet travel! However, would any of these injuries be probable of he gets into the fistfight later (see my questions in the first post)? I don’t want to injure him too much.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    See my answer. You can write the injury to fit your story. The injury need not dictate the story, not by a long shot.

    Ooh, I made a pun. :p
     
  6. jmh105
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    jmh105 Member

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    I'm sorry, but could you be more specific? I feel that any of those injuries could be reopened due to trauma in the fistfight. In that way, I feel like any of these choices could dictate the story. Do you know what I mean?

    Haha, excellent job! :D Very punny, indeed.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not an expert by any means. But I do a lot of critical thinking. So here is my few cents to help. :D

    A gun is actually in many ways a poor weapon. It relays very heavily on one aspect. Velocity. Though it does that very well.

    The issue I take here is this. Becauseof this, if it didn't bounce around, or break inside the body and it just cut clean through and didn't hit anything important. Well, then the damage is kind of minor. Or at least, I imagine it would be. The body is prety good at repair and healing. If nothing major is hit, then nothing major is shut down and the body's repair system kicks in. In which a bullet hole is well, like a bad cut really.

    The trick to bullets, is when it hits something important, it stops the bodies ability to heal properly, or if a bullet breaks up or gets stuck. This is also bad.

    So for your purposes. It sonds like you mainly just want soreness. Which, I think is fine to say. Heck, I hate doing dishes with a papercut because it doesn't feel nice. Even if the hole in my was minor, I assume soreness would be a given and soreness can affect your ability to fight.

    If you want to impair his ability further. I suggest a shoulder wound instead of stomach. Non-critical life wise but would indeed make a fight hard.

    If you want the thread of fighting causing critical injury. I would suggest maybe that it grazed an internal organ. Like the spleen. The spleen I believe is a bad organ to hurt, but not so bad that it is immediately life threatening.

    I say this from expierence. My spleen was ruptured in an acident before. From what I gather, that means it was cut open and not working properly. The doctors told me that it was bad! But they gave it four days(in which they watched it carefully.) it recovered fine on its own, but they were ready to step in to do surgery if it was needed.

    A big point here depends on how accurate you want to be. I mean, no one is going to fault you if you are slightly off the mechanics. If you want to say he got shot in the stomach, was injured badly, but not critically and was sore for a few days. I have no problems with this. Real or otherwise.

    I mean, I think it is harsh to expect a reader or writer to do the long research on bullet science. Because remember, if a reader doesn't know the difference. The story is going to be the same to him. This isn't to fault you doing research and if you want to be on point with the facts. That is fine too. I just want to point out. I don't think it is a rule that you have to be on point.

    One of my writing rules, is "It is often more important to sound right, than actually be write." But then again. I write for entertainment. If people learn from my writing it should be common sense or philosophical. If you want to be so on point that people can learn from your story, the above rule probably isn't for you.

    I hope it helps.
     
  8. jmh105
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    In that case, then I will be comfortable in having the bullet won't hit anything vital! So in that case, internal bleeding would probably be less likely if the body repairs itself as efficiently as you say. That's definitely good for my purposes! :D

    The shoulder wound is an interesting idea, too! In the gunfight, two characters are injured. One of them does, in fact, get a shoulder wound. I could consider switching the wounds around so the fistfight guy gets it in the shoulder! Thanks for the suggestions.

    As for being accurate--I feel like the more realistic the better. As for the audience and them being ignorant or not about the slight error--I wouldn't underestimate them. I would think any reader could wonder how a character with a serious gun injury is suddenly springing into action. :D Of course, there will be plenty others that won't ask, too. I do see your point regarding "It is often more important to sound right than actually be right." A reader's perception of a novel depends on what they perceive vs. what may or may not be there/accurate, that's true. Still, I'd like to try my best with the accuracy!

    Thanks for your input!
     
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  9. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    :D Yep, there is nothing wrong with being accurate either. I brought it up as a point. Because I have seen writers give up because either the research was too hard or the fact life's actual rules didn't match the story he wanted to tell. It can be a serious trap, where someone becomes so interested in being accurate that they lose sight, that they are writing fictional material. This isn't to say you have to ignore reality either. The main point I wanted to extend here was the option. Because if no one exposes you to the options and you didn't think of the option, I imagine that is how people fall into that trap and I never want to see a young aspiring author fall into a bad writing trap.

    If you have fun with research or really enjoy being able to say the material is pretty accurate. That is awesome and I support that. In my own work I have lots of internal consistency. To the point that I even have an origin to all magic and the life of the universe! Something I will probably never need, but I love having internal consistency. So it makes me happy to do it.

    Another example is a videogame. It was called Samurai Warriors for the PS2-4. Or at least the original one for the PS2 did what I am about to say. Can't speak for all of them. It was set in history and it was extremely accurate. I know, because I became curious. So I checked, and it is fair to say 75% of the game's story is point for point accurate to real Japanese history. I mean how awesome. A fun game that literally taught me Japanese history by just playing the game. I loved it more from that. A friend didn't believe me about my research. So I found an article that was done on the game for its accuracy. And it was more than I ever realized. Apperently the game people. Took a plane to Oosaka and took pictures inside the ruins of the old castle that was a playable level in the game. They did this so they could model the level accurately to the real life place. I mean, Damn. Right? Awesome?

    Again, nothing wrong with either method. But that is the point You are allowed to drop real physic or research it, if you want.

    Oh and like I said. On gun physics. I am no expert. I was just using the limited knowledge I have. So I could be very wrong. I am in no way a real authority on guns.
     

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