1. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1

    Reference material for injury effects

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ironwil, Jan 4, 2011.

    I'm writing a science fiction book in which a lot of combat is going to occur. The main character will be largely removed from this issue, as he has special powers, but most of the cast are going to be vanilla mortals. In action movies, it's common to see heroes stabbed, shot, run over by cars, etc., and just keep going. Though a science fiction novel is going to take many liberties with reality, I'd like to keep basic facts of life as close to the truth as is possible. So...

    If anyone knows of good reference books and/or web sites with good information on the effects of injuries, specifically blades, bullets, and blunt-force trauma, I'd really appreciate it. I did a lot of searching, and even tried finding injury forums. Unfortunately, all I found were emergency treatments and advice for various basic injuries, and sites dedicated to suing people. Understandable, but antagonizing. The information I'm looking for is more in the nature of question and answer. For instance, if a person is stabbed or slashed in a certain body part, and the penetration was 'n' inches deep, what are the likely results? What is the level of shock the body could be expected to go into, and how much would this limit the person's ability to move, and possibly survive? Same idea with bullets and getting hit with blunt objects.

    I know this will vary with body size, toughness, etc., but I need to know broad generalities. If a person gets hit with a thrown knife in the thigh, could they realistically pull it out, bind the wound and continue on, or would that be completely out of the question?

    These are the kind of questions I'm hoping to answer. Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. SashaMerideth
    Offline

    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    California
    Some specialist forums will be able to help. Muscle damage no matter the source takes a long time to heal and is painful most of the time. Ligament damage takes longer to heal than bone, and places like he wrist or ankle rarely completely heal. Gunshot wounds take weeks to heal, even when just hitting muscle. There may be military info out there you could use. Also start with s Google image search for the wound. You will probably need to disable the safe search feature though. It will be gory. I can also recommended your local library as well.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    google is your best friend!
     
  4. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, but you'll notice in my post that I stated I already researched online quite a bit. What I found were sites describing (in the broadest terms) advice for what to do when any type of injury occurs, and ways to sue those at fault. I don't really need to know that I should see a doctor immediately if I've been shot or stabbed. That's kind of self-explanatory. I need more information about the reactions of the body, and I haven't found any sites that offer this information just yet. Do you know of any? I've been though dozens, and have come up largely with nothing useful.
     
  5. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks, the length of recuperation time is something I need, but also immediate effects of various injuries to major body areas. I don't need to get so granular as to specify how many inches from the elbow a slice occured, but I'll need to know if a person is stabbed or sliced in the upper arm, and it was whatever amount deep, what would happen?

    Would the person go into shock and be unable to respond well? Would the blood loss require immediate attention, or could they run away first? Would the arm still work, and to what degree? That kind of thing.
     
  6. SashaMerideth
    Offline

    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    California
    There are so many factors. Let's take your throwing knife to the thigh example. If the knife transected the femoral artery, and he then pulled it out, he would bled out in a few seconds. Leaving it in place would give him a few more, but without a tourniquet he is a dead man.

    We have been conditioned to believe that sufficiently strong willed people can tolerate extreme levels of pain and thanks to adrenaline this is true in some cases but... more importantly we believe it. If you had smell scrawny unmitigated weakilng taking bullet after bullet we may not believe you. The giant of a man will be more believable, heck people have taken bullets to the brain and survived. Make it believable and you will do fine.
     
  7. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks. I know some things just aren't possible. I recall a scene in the movie "300", where the king of the Spartans was fighting with a huge, ugly beast of a man. The king actually stabbed through the huge man's arm completely, in such a way that would most certainly have hit an artery. At the least, it would have severed muscles that are required for the arm to function. But of course the beast man kept on fighting like nothing had happened. I also recall the old episodes of Magnum PI. I swear, not more than 3 episodes could pass without Magnum getting knocked out again. He'd get up soon after, shake his head and continue. Of course, it's often easier to just kill someone than knock them out, and shaking your head after a probable concussion isn't a good way to clear it. This might clear your stomach as you empty it of everything, but you head wouldn't feel much better.

    The point is I want to stay away from such obviously impossible scenarios as these. Certain things I know, such as the location of major arteries likely to get hit (either side of neck, inside of both legs, inside of both arms, groin and armpits - particularly the left one), but others I don't. I've actually had an accident where my leg was cut about a half-inch deep and three inches long, and besides being a bother when bathing, it didn't effect me much. I was young and stupid, and never even bothered to see a doctor. I just put an ACE bandage over it in a cross-over pattern and went about my day. I'd like to say I was just that macho, but in truth my mom would have killed me if she found out, and I was only 15. I've had a number of blunt-force encounters, as I used to do a lot of full-contact martial arts. However, I've never been shot (and don't plan to be, even in the interest of great fiction), and have no idea what it's like. I've never been stabbed, and the same points apply. I know enough to understand that slashes across major muscle groups will incapacitate them, no matter how tough you are, and I've had some experience with broken bones, but stabs and bullet holes are still much a mystery to me.
     
  8. SashaMerideth
    Offline

    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    California
    You seem to have s good amount of knowledge here. Ago with your gut. One of the biggest problems with gunshots is the shatteringof bone and secondary infection. I think you are knowledgeable enough to make your injury response realistic,just think about it.
     
  9. Sarah's Mom
    Offline

    Sarah's Mom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    New England Coast
    Try searching "forensic medicine." Also, if you are now an adult, and live in or near a city, call coroners office, city morgue, ask to view an autopsy, then talk to the examiner while that's going on.

    Legwork can be fun.

    and gross
     
  10. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    I never thought of that. Thanks. Though I'm sure I'll have to give a reason for asking to view an autopsy. I wonder if 'research' would be an adequate response. If not, then I have the excuse that my daughter wants to persue a medical degree. It's actually true.
     
  11. Ironwil
    Offline

    Ironwil Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks. You're correct - breaking the bones even on a through and through shot is going to put someone down, quickly. I was also thinking that some tissue loss would be nearly unavoidable, as the bullet would tear through a person and take some tissue with it, or at the very least render some tissue unsalvageable. I'm not too concerned about infection, unless it is probable as a result of the environment the characters are in when the injury occurs. Unless there's a reason for it in the plot, no one will get infected. That much license I'm fully prepared to take.
     
  12. Allegro Van Kiddo
    Offline

    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    20
    Ironwill,

    I used to be a Redcross instructor for firstaid and CPR. The firstaid book was filled with many kinds of injuries including skin breaks, electrocution, torso punctures, bone breaks falls, etc. The material also discussed what's happening to the body and of course what to do. This stuff might be online now, but I'm not sure.

    Also, you might be able to find medical text books about ER injuries.
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    there are many sites with that info... it takes time, patience, and creative googling to find it all... that's all just part of the 'job' of being a writer... at least with google, we no longer have to spends days in the public library...

    here's the slew of info that came up in a split-second for just one type of wound [i typed 'emergency treatment for stab wound' into the google slot and the first hit alone has probably all you need]:
    http://www.google.com/webhp?rls=ig#sclient=psy&hl=en&rls=ig&site=webhp&source=hp&q=emergency+treatment+for+a+stab+wound&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=ea5733a97aebfa72
     
  14. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    I agree with using specialist forums because a lot of times you will find people on there that are actually suffering from the conditions discussed. Those people can sometimes give you details not listed in books or websites such as how they feel when the weather is a certain way and so and so.

    For example, I know someone who has back problems because of an old injury. This is complicated for him due to the fact that he has auto-immunity, which means his immune system attacks his body. It compromises his ability to heal injuries and fight off diseases so his recovery time for anything is increased.
     
  15. Allegro Van Kiddo
    Offline

    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    20
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avulsion

    That used to gross me out the most because there was a picture of it in the Redcross manual. It's when a chunk of your flesh gets torn right off! It seems to happen to fingers a lot.

    It would be cool to use these technical terms in a novel mostly because few do and it would be educational.
     

Share This Page