Tag Archives: starke is still not a doctor

How would getting stabbed in the eye affect someone?

You will lose the eye, and depth perception. Which has a lot of implications across the board. In some rare cases the eye will heal, but for most people, they’re signing up to join the Nick Fury eye care club.

That’s if you only rupture the eye. The back of the eye socket is fairly thin bone, meaning it’s an excellent place to gain access to the brain with a quick strike. That means we’re no longer just talking about losing an eye, but adding an impromptu lobotomy to the list. I’m not well versed enough in jamming random objects into someone’s brain to know for sure what this will do, but it’s not the kind of thing you just get back up from.

-Starke

My character is hit by an arrow to the shoulder from a considerable distance. Would it be possible for the arrow to hit a muscle and somewhat incapacitate her arm? If so, how long would it take to completely heal, if ever? Thank you so much!

Yes. It would actually be fairly difficult to get hit in the shoulder and not significantly impair the arm. Muscles slide over one another to allow movement. Impaling with an arrow through them will prevent this, completely immobilizing anything it pierces.

I’m going to stick a very rough baseline of 6 months for recovery time, but there are a lot of factors at work here, and that’s basically a guess. The older your character is, the slower they’ll heal. Wooden arrows are a fantastic vector for infection, which will outright kill them. Availability of clean food and medical care will affect this. If the arrow punches through the shoulder blade or breaks any other bones, those will need to be set, and will take a long time to heal.

A well meaning person ripping the arrow out (including your character), is a good way to kill your character quickly from blood loss.

I think I’ve posted this before, but, first aid for someone who’s been impaled is:

  • First, and this is a general first aid rule: your safety is more important than the victim’s. This isn’t a selfish statement; it’s to avoid a “well now we have two problems” situation.

    This also isn’t a hypothetical issue; you see this all the time, something horrifying happens, people rush in to help, and get injured. It happened to me, and is part of the reason I walk with a limp when I’m tired.

  • Leave the foreign object in the wound. Do not try to remove it yourself. There are exceptions, such as when you need to perform CPR and it is in your way or if the foreign object is actually causing more damage by remaining. Though, if you’re at the point of needing to perform CPR and can’t because the sword sticking out of the victim’s chest is in the way, CPR is probably not going to help much.
  • Keep the victim calm, if they thrash around or panic, they will make things worse. Movement will aggravate the wound, in most cases speeding bleed out. Panic will elevate the heart rate, which will also increase the speed of bleed out.
  • Call for EMS (that’s 911 if you’re in the States) If the object is something that’s part of the environment (such as a piece of rebar imbedded in concrete) tell them. They will need to bring equipment to cut the victim down.
  • A good EMS operator should be able to talk you through most of the rest, but, if they don’t or can’t:
  • Try to get the victim’s clothing away from the injury, this will involve some tearing, but it did on the way in, so…
  • Do what you can to make the victim comfortable. You don’t want to move them, but anything that reduces physical strain could save their life.
  • Pack bandages around the entry and exit points to slow the bleeding. This can be any lose fabric in a pinch, though gauze is better. Packing it in around the wound should keep a lose object from wobbling and further aggravating the wound.
  • Keep them alert, do this by talking to them, and keeping their mind active. This is to prevent them from going into shock. Once they’ve gone into shock their chances of survival drop massively. Ideally you need to keep talking to them through the entire ordeal. Try to maintain a calm and even tone.
  • Wait for help to arrive.

-Starke

Is there a functional purpose to ‘wavy’ blades such as a flamberge or the kris/keris dagger or are they purely aesthetic? Would they inflict and different kind of wounds than a straight blade?

It’s not aesthetic, though I’m not completely certain what the consequences are.

Usually the cited reason is the blade causes less suction. With knives, this tends to get presented as something that makes it harder to pull a blade back out of someone, though, really, if you got it in there in the first place, through intact tissue, pulling it back out shouldn’t be much of a barrier.

If it does actually generate less suction, it probably means the wound can’t seal around the blade to reduce bleeding, if it’s left behind. (Incidentally, first aid for someone who’s been stabbed is to leave the knife in the wound. Pulling it out will dramatically increase the blood loss through the wound, and you can kill someone that way while trying to help them.)

It may just be to increase the blade’s ability to wound while avoiding serration, and the difficulty with trying to sharpen or hone a serrated blade.

-Starke

What is “womanly fat”? Is there “manly fat”? How about “transgender fat”? It seems like a good scene but I got lost at “womanly fat”.

Women have a thin layer of subcutaneous fat. It’s part of why they don’t develop muscle tone as easily. The muscles are there, but the layer of fat camouflages it.

Male-to-female transsexuals develop it during hormone therapy. I think female-to-males lose it at roughly the same point, but I’m not 100% sure on that count. And of course, the obligatory, “gender has nothing to do with biology” disclaimer, because gender dysphoria doesn’t (directly) affect physiology.

So far as I know, it doesn’t really do anything other than affect appearance. It’s another random secondary sexual characteristic that, outside of some very specific circumstances, you don’t really need to know about for your writing.

-Starke

Hey there great blog! I was wondering if you had any insight on something I ran into on my original story. So it’s hard to explain but basically the character will at some point be struck by lightning, I’m thinking around the back of the neck so it can make a gnarly lichternberg scar across the side of his face, but I’m wondering if you know how damaging that can be to someone, as they have to go fight pretty soon after.

Well, he could be dead. I mean, that’s a pretty decent chance (~1:10).

If he survives the strike, the electrical surge will fry his nervous system for awhile. How long would vary person to person, but that could pretty easily result in some permanent damage, or a coma. There’s a decent chance his eardrums would rupture. He could also develop memory problems, chronic pain or cataracts.

Given that you’re specifying the face, my money’s on amnesia, cataracts, and blown eardrums. With a possible coma. This is of course assuming you didn’t pop their brain stem like a gas station burrito in the microwave.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but, I’m going to go with: no, getting hit by lightning is probably not a cool substitute for a pre-fight tattoo.

-Starke

In my story one of my mc’s has the hability to regenerate so there are this guys testing his power (so far successfully with wounds like cuts, etc.) and they want to push his limits to the next level, and chop his arm in half, they apply a torniquet to stop the blood-loss and leave him to see if he survives (note: he’s passed out from pain). Could he survive the, like, 3-5 hours it takes his arm to re-generate? With nothing else than a torniquet?

There is literally no way to answer this question satisfactorily. It might not be possible for that character to bleed to death. Either because he doesn’t actually need the blood (the regeneration keeps the cells from dying due to lack of oxygen), or he produces blood to replace it at a fast enough rate to survive. It’s possible the regeneration supercharges the clotting response to the point that arterial damage isn’t lethal.

It’s also possible that the blood loss, even before the tourniquet, would be enough to push him into shock. If he’s already unconscious, that’s not a good sign. Generally speaking, pain doesn’t actually put someone under, believe me, with some kinds of pain you’ll wish you could lose consciousness. But, bloodloss will. That suggests that if he’s unconscious, his brain is getting starved of oxygen, and it’s quite possible that, yes, this could result in him bleeding out. Though, if that will actually arrest the regeneration is anyone’s guess.

-Starke

Hello, I have two questions about one subject. I have two characters who are injured in my story. One has a deep stab wound in his upper back. The other has a sprain wrist. I want to know, realistically how fast each one can heal? The stab wound is a clean cut in-out job and I would like to know how fast the character is able to walk about. The one with the sprained wrist is also a sword fighter, how quickly could he heal at a push? It will be a great help, thanks.

A couple of weeks on the sprain. Technically it can take as much as two months until it fully heals, but the joint should be useable long before then.

The stab wound… depending on the circumstances, you could be looking at a month before it’s even sealed up, to say nothing of actually healed.

The closest I’ve gotten to being stabbed was stepping on a nail about a decade ago, and I cannot recommend it.

Accounting for various factors, including the victim’s age, diet, and general health at the time of the injury, you could be looking at six or seven months before the wound is mostly healed.

Moral of the story: if you want to use that character again, and your time frame isn’t spread out over years, don’t stab them. Shooting them and car accidents come with similar warnings.

Again, I’m not a doctor, so some of my numbers could be faulty because someone was getting creative with case studies on the internet because they wanted to sell their “new” medical techniques. But, best guess.

-Starke

readingwithavengeance said: To be fair, with the stab wound, he can *walk about* the whole time. It’s using the shoulder/arm that’s going to take healing.

That’s correct, and this is why I probably shouldn’t be answering questions in the middle of the night.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that you really can’t “push” to heal faster. Proper medical treatment will speed the healing process, but pushing (in most senses) will usually aggravate the injury further, meaning it will actually last longer. This is especially true of the sprain if your character is pushing to recover as quickly as possible. Once they’re mobile, if they try to push the joint too hard before it’s fully healed they could very easily injure it again. My suspicion is, they’d also be at risk for a more severe injury in that case, but I’m not sure.

-Starke

I’ve been following along with those anons and Curare comes to mind.

Yeah, I’ll be honest, I’m not actually sure which point you’re making. Curare is incredibly lethal stuff. When it was first discovered in South America, the locals were using it to poison their arrows.

Curare is a paralytic that attacks the respiratory system. It has modern medical uses when performing surgery on the lungs, and as a muscle relaxant before surgery. (Which, incidentally means, both of us might have been dosed with this at one time or another in our lives.)

It’s also used as an anticonvulsant when treating tetanus, and to treat spastic paralysis when surgically correcting some breaks and dislocations.

There isn’t actually an antidote, but, in a medical environment, the patient can be put on a respirator and will recover without ill effects. Near as I can tell, there isn’t even really a “safe” dosage. It seems to be you either put the victim on a respirator or you notify the next of kin.

Here’s the reason why I’m not sure what point you’re making, curare won’t put you under. It will paralyze the victim, but if they survive, they’ll remember the entire ordeal. If the victim dies, it will be from asphyxiation because the toxin kept them from breathing, they’ll also be awake and aware for the experience… In a combat, it’s for those times you don’t trust an arrow to be lethal enough, and need to make sure whoever your shooting is extra dead.

-Starke

I have a character who as part of her backstory blows her own arm off, would cauterisation be enough to stop the bleeding from a wound like that, or does it require actual medicine to not bleed to death? (Cauterisation would make more sense in context, because the two characters present have fire magic.)

Well, cauterization is actually medicine. For a non-medical description, cauterization is just cooking the meat until it stops leaking. As far as I know this would the main treatment for traumatically losing a limb in a pre-industrial setting.

I’m not sure if the characters control over fire would be precise enough to do the cooking personally, but it’s certainly an option, even without resorting to magic.

This is of course assuming the characters have the medical knowledge to realize that cauterization is a legitimate solution to the injury. Which is certainly plausible.

That said, in a high fantasy setting, with advanced healing magic, it’s possible that cauterization would be viewed as repugnant, or a perversion of magic. Obviously, that’s getting into the ethics and cultural norms of your setting, but it’s probably something to think about.

If it is something they’d avoid, then an impromptu tourniquet would buy a little time, but getting enough pressure to actually stop an arterial bleed out might not be something your characters are capable of.

-Starke