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#1
Old 06-29-2011, 04:11 PM
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Healing times for bullet injuries

(If this should go in IMHO, I apologize.)
This is just me trying to make a cheesy story slightly less unrealistic: If a relatively healthy young person got shot with a rifle through the shoulder muscle without it hitting bone, and then got good (though kinda delayed) medical treatment, how long would it take it to heal? How debilitating would it be? How much would it hold them over the course of the healing?
#2
Old 06-29-2011, 04:28 PM
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Are we talking high power rifle like a Winchester .300 mag or something like the Winchester 25-35? Are we talking full metal jacket or ballistic tips? Answers to these will determine if there is even enough shoulder left to heal.
#3
Old 06-29-2011, 04:38 PM
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I'm going for "painful and very inconvenient for a good while" rather than "maimed for life." It was shown as a military rifle (yes, I'm totally ignorant about firearms), but I guess it could have sort of skimmed the muscle rather than being a solid, direct hit all the way through.
#4
Old 06-29-2011, 04:39 PM
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What, no "Need answer fast" for this one?
#5
Old 06-29-2011, 04:54 PM
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I punctured my calf muscle on a dirtbike kickstart (about 1/2" - 3/4" in diameter), so kinda like being shot, I would think.

It went in a good inch or so and the wound looked like a gut shot, in that what I assumed was muscle tissue literally was spilling out the hole.

Extremely painful!

I couldn't walk on the that leg for a few days. I want to say it was about 5 days before I could step down and not feel intense pain, and close to 2 weeks before the leg was 100% back to normal.
#6
Old 06-29-2011, 04:59 PM
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Just about any rifle round in any caliber to the shoulder (even a lowly .22 LR), whether it hits bone or not, will pretty well destroy the shoulder joint. It would take months of rehab--and very good surgery--to fix it back to normal.

Go for a grazing shot. Takes a little meat out, "tis but a flesh wound," more dramatic, and the hero can go on with a little bleeding and be OK.
#7
Old 06-29-2011, 05:58 PM
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This study analysed 60 patients with penetrating gunshot wounds, of different genders and ages, with guns ranging from air guns and pistols up to rifles and assault rifles:

Quote:
Two patients died within the first 24 hours; no other patients die after the first 24 hours of initiation of treatment. Thirty-nine patients were hospitalized with hospital stays ranging from 1 to 40 days (average length of stay 13.2 days). Total recovery time varied from 3 to 330 days averaging 65.7 days until full recovery and ability to work. Fifteen patients had bone injury, eight of which needed osteosyntesis. Four patients received external fixators, two were treated by titanium intramedullar nail, and two by transfixation with Kirchner wire eighteen patients (30%) had secondary sutures. Perioperative complications were osteomyelitis (two patients), pseudoarthrosis of upper extremity proximal phalange (one patient) and non-lethal pulmonary embolism (one patient).
Five of the patients had rifle wounds. I haven't tried checking myself but if you delve into the study you should be able to find the recovery data for those five patients. This study found that the average ICU stay was 10 days for various types of gunshot wounds and in this study, although not directly relevant, the average hospital stay for pistol gunshot wounds was about 8 days,

Last edited by isaiahrobinson; 06-29-2011 at 06:01 PM.
#8
Old 06-29-2011, 07:02 PM
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Thank you (all) very much -- this looks really helpful. The study, especially.
#9
Old 06-29-2011, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by History Monk View Post
(If this should go in IMHO, I apologize.)
This is just me trying to make a cheesy story slightly less unrealistic: If a relatively healthy young person got shot with a rifle through the shoulder muscle without it hitting bone, and then got good (though kinda delayed) medical treatment, how long would it take it to heal? How debilitating would it be? How much would it hold them over the course of the healing?
Realize that there is far, far more in the shoulder than just bone and muscle. The shoulder has blood vessels, ligaments and aponeuroses, apocrine sweat glands, and the brachial plexus, most concentrated collection of peripheral nerves below the neck. There is almost no way that someone can take a deep penetration wound into the shoulder without at least some degree of permanent impairment. Healing from penetrating wounds, and especially in an area that is as difficult to immobilize as the shoulder, takes a lot longer than you would imagine, and any degree of infection or intrusion of foreign material can further impair recovery indefinitely. The only wound that isn't going to cause some serious amount of damage is a surface wound. The mythical "flesh wound" that passes through muscle without reducing mobility is almost completely a fabrication of Hollywood schlockwriters.

I once suffered a non-penetrating bullet impact to the mid-thorax. It took at least three or four weeks for the multicolored bruising to more or less fade away, and months before I could lift up my arm without feeling a sharp stabbing pain in my pectoral. There is still a slight roughness in the muscle directly below the impact, indicating some permanent subcutaneous scarring.

Stranger
#10
Old 06-29-2011, 10:13 PM
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Ow. Thanks, I'll be sure to keep that in mind. Maybe having another character being really relived that it's a grazing/surface wound, or something like that.
#11
Old 06-30-2011, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
I once suffered a non-penetrating bullet impact to the mid-thorax.
Stranger
OK, fine, I'll be the one to ask for the full story.
#12
Old 06-30-2011, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
OK, fine, I'll be the one to ask for the full story.

Maybe someone threw a bullet at him.
#13
Old 06-30-2011, 09:29 AM
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Sounds like a body armor deflected injury.
#14
Old 06-30-2011, 09:42 AM
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Clearly he had a Bible in his breast pocket.
#15
Old 06-30-2011, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
Clearly he had a Bible in his breast pocket.
Bobby Blane: Sometimes adrenaline gives people the shakes, some might think it's cowardice, so maybe you'd want to pray about it.
Jimmy Silk: I'm not a religious man.
Bobby Blane: There's nothing wrong with prayer. We knew this firefighter, this trooper, who always caried a bible next to his heart. We used to mock him, but that bible stopped a bullet.
Jimmy Silk: No shit.
Bobby Blane: Hand of God, that bible stopped a bullet, would of ruined that fucker's heart. And had he had another bible in front of his face, that man would be alive today.
-- Heist

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#16
Old 06-30-2011, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Bobby Blane: Sometimes adrenaline gives people the shakes, some might think it's cowardice, so maybe you'd want to pray about it.
Jimmy Silk: I'm not a religious man.
Bobby Blane: There's nothing wrong with prayer. We knew this firefighter, this trooper, who always caried a bible next to his heart. We used to mock him, but that bible stopped a bullet.
Jimmy Silk: No shit.
Bobby Blane: Hand of God, that bible stopped a bullet, would of ruined that fucker's heart. And had he had another bible in front of his face, that man would be alive today.
-- Heist
Cue Woody Allen:
Quote:
Years ago, my mother gave me a bullet...a bullet, and I put it in my breast pocket. Two years after that, I was walking down the street, when a berserk evangelist heaved a Gideon bible out a hotel room window, hitting me in the chest. Bible would have gone through my heart if it wasn't for the bullet.
#17
Old 06-30-2011, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
Maybe someone threw a bullet at him.
Or he fell on one.
#18
Old 06-30-2011, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
OK, fine, I'll be the one to ask for the full story.
Yes, I think we need the full story.

For what it's worth, my father had a non penetrating bullet injury to his shoulder. He and a bunch of friends thought it was really cool to skip .22 bullets off of the water in a creek. Apparently, my father didn't think it was so cool to make sure to stand behind the guy firing the gun; he figured somewhere off to the side was fine. A skipped bullet went off at the right angle to hit him. The result didn't break the skin at all, but left a pretty serious bruise.

My father is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
#19
Old 06-30-2011, 02:10 PM
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A family friend, a healthy woman in her early 20s, was shot through the shoulder (not hitting the bone) at close range during a mugging about 20 years ago. She had several surgeries, about 6 months of healing in general, and it was almost two years and a lot of physical therapy before she said she felt close to normal (whatever that means). She still has less strength and less range of motion in that arm, not to mention a pair of obvious scars.

When I see people on tv and in movies shrug off bullet wounds, I have to shake my head and laugh.
#20
Old 07-05-2015, 12:00 PM
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Well, I can share from my own experience. I was shot in the chest,point blank range with a 9mm Ruger. I nearly died. the bullet went through my chest,out my back (on an angle) going through my lung,and shoulder bone,the bullet then went through the window that was behind me, hit the neighbors porch, and flew away by the rr tracks. the sheriff located the shell casing but said they'd never be able to find the bullet. So, in my city we have 2 local hospitals,and neither are trauma centers. I was taken to the closest er and then life flighted to a trauma 2 center. The bullet missed the valve to my heart by 1mm !!!!! I'm alive over a few strands of hair in width! My faith wasn't that strong before, But when I woke up in the ICU 2 days later? I opened my eyes and I saw Christ on a cross hanging on the wall.I started to breathe on my own so they took the tubes out of me and put an oxygen mask on me. I had 2 chest tubes that ran to a machine that blood ran into from my lungs. The trauma surgeon told me, well somebody up there really loves you! They told my fiancee and my family that I was in critical condition but stable. They told them I would spend roughly 1-2 weeks in ICU and up to a month on the surgical floor to recover. This was a serious life or death situation. I pushed myself as hard as I could. Unfortunately I ended up with pneumonia but I fought hard and was healthy enough to come home. This happened close to 9 months ago. It happened on 10-11-14. I'm still in some moderate pain, and I have been having a lot of shortness of breath and what not, but I am Alive!!! If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them..." "Live each day to the fullest!Your not promised tomorrow!"
#21
Old 07-05-2015, 12:22 PM
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Raptured..I mean, reported.
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