Alrighty, so I’m writing a dramatic scene where a character intends to save another character from a bullet. Say the ~hero~ character gets shot in the shoulder, but it’s a clean shot and mostly went to the side. Would the character (who is in this sort of situation a lot) passing out be reasonable, and if they were given slightly sketchy medical service within an hour (along with first aid to stop the bleeding), would this be survivable without great damage?

Okay, let’s walk through this for a second:

  • You have a character who is shooting another.
  • You have a character who decides to dive heroically into the path of the bullet.
  • They leap heroically into the path of the bullet.
  • The bullet strikes the “heroic” character.
  • As bullets are wont to do, it passes through them and into the intended victim.
  • Additionally, the bullet is now traveling more slowly, and slightly more prone to ricocheting in the intended victim. If the bullet does this, it has the potential to do far more damage than if it had been allowed to go on its way unmolested.
  • They have both been shot.
  • The intended victim’s injuries may actually be more severe now than they would have been without any intervention.
  • I sense a problem here.

I mean, it is a problem with this entire cliche to begin with. Dodging in front of the bullet only makes sense when the person trying to take the bullet is wearing body armor, and the intended victim is not. Even then it will only actually achieve something if the wannabe martyr actually takes the bullet in their armor. A through and through in the shoulder won’t do that.

If you’re still wanting more information, we do have a gunshot wound tag, and a tag reminding you that I’m not a real doctor. Technically two because I used to have a slightly stranger name for the same reminder. So far as it goes, about the furthest I’ve gotten on shoulder wounds in the past is suggesting a Google Image Search, though there have been a few discussions on gunshot wounds in the past, just not in the shoulder specifically.


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