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Posted: 4/20/2011 6:54 PM PDT
I think very good....
Posted: 2/3/2011 4:32 PM PST
It is dark, but Nika is lying in a drunken stupor, so the kid has a pretty good free hit (but only the one).
Someone else suggested the gut wound idea as well. I think I'll go with that.
Posted: 9/28/2010 5:04 AM PDT
Just a suggestion, but you did say your character was attacked in the dark, by a 10 year old. Regardless of what the child might have been aiming for - he could conceivably hit - anywhere. Have you ever heard of Nancy Spungen? She was the girlfriend of Sid Vicious. She was stabbed in the stomach, what should have been a non-fatal injury. Because she was strung out on drugs, she felt little pain, and actually died of slow blood loss. Very slow blood loss. If you deer hunt, you may also be aware that a ‘gut shot’ is a hunter’s worst fear. An animal may wander miles before finally dieing of blood loss. Perhaps a low 'gut shot' would be a good place for the knife to hit?
Posted: 8/24/2010 8:47 PM PDT
Actually, I'd got him in a state of drunken semi-consciousness; he is brought back to awareness by the pain!
And yes - that's not great shape to be fighting, but his 'opponent' is a damaged, hysterical ten year-old, so it wasn't exactly much contest... and if he'd been in a better state, he would have realised this, and perhaps tried to subdue, not kill...
Posted: 8/22/2010 7:09 PM PDT
You could have the attacker going for the groin, missing, and instead hitting the outer leg. The other blood vessels in the legs are smaller. I would assume if your character has enough mental capacity to fight, he has enough to spot an attacker and wiggle a bit so that the attacker misses. His reaction time may be slower but it would still happen.
Posted: 8/22/2010 5:42 PM PDT
Sorry, SLG, I may be dim, but I can't find your rate of flow figure.
Unfortunately for my character, he was sitting on ground, slumped against a wall, when he was stabbed in the upper thigh (attacker trying for groin); the ensuing 'fight' consisted of rolling around on the ground - if I understand you correctly, this means that his bleed out rate is going to be pretty high! Somehow I don't think he's going to get time to bandage...?
Posted: 8/21/2010 11:46 AM PDT
It depends on where the artery is. When you take your blood pressure, you are measuring your arterial flow in your arm. (This is where the pressure would be highest because it comes right from your heart.) Blood pressure is also related to heart rate. If your character is excited it would make the heart beat faster and the blood move faster. But if the character is intoxicated that won't necessarily be the case.
The flow going into your legs is mainly controlled by gravity so the pressure would be lower. I searched this online and found a bunch of scientific articles about blood flow in different arteries. What I found is that blood speed in the femorals is higher when the person is sitting or trying to stand up. It is relatively low when standing (because of the gravity thing).
Evidently hitting a huge vessel like the femoral would make you bleed faster than a smaller vessel. Intoxication would thin the blood, like we said before, so the rate would increase or decrease a bit.
So what I can gather is the rate of flow depends on 1) how close you are to the heart, 2) what position your character is in, and 3) what type of blood vessel is hit. It can also vary by person (some people have smaller/larger vessels).
By the way, I found that number in an article about deer attacking hunters and skewering them with their antlers. I would assume they are talking about getting hit in the torso or close to it. Unless you plan on having your character attacked in the foot, that number should work.
Posted: 8/15/2010 5:49 PM PDT
Thank you for a precise response! Now, what is the rate of flow for arterial blood (too fast, I fear)?
Posted: 8/3/2010 6:07 AM PDT
I read somewhere that a full grown man can lose 67 ounces of blood before his body shuts down. (67 oz = about 2 liters = about 1/2 a gallon) So if you plan on having this person bleed for a while, you should pick a blood vessel where it will keep leaking but not gushing. Maybe something in the forearm or lower leg?
Posted: 7/27/2010 11:26 PM PDT
Just the once - I'm assuming that his initial response is to hit attacker, who loses grip on weapon, leaving MC free to pull it out & use it himself!
Posted: 7/26/2010 7:35 AM PDT
Do you plan on him being stabbed just once, or several times? If it is several times you could stab someone almost anywhere and nearly kill them.
Posted: 7/21/2010 1:42 PM PDT
Thank you SC; your comments are very much along the lines of my original thoughts:
a) Infection, blood-poisoning etc. is not an issue - he'll get appropriate medical attention in time.
b) My original version - see http://www.webook.com/submission.aspx?p=8d30450c1aa7464a903e401cd8ee49b3&st=1c16ee39332e408ea28b6f7f3e5fe815 - has him trying to fix the bleeding before passing out as the adrenaline from the fight wears off.
c) My concern whether he would lose too much blood BEFORE he could do this.
The attack is in the dark - Nika does not see his assailant. Help will not arrive till morning - he has no business being out of barracks at night and no one will come looking till then. (He is in trouble.) So he has got to be able to last a few hours - which (I think) does mean that he will have to have applied some first aid himself.
The injury does not take place DURING the fight - it is inflicted whilst he is unconscious (or semi-conscious) and not expecting it. His retaliation is instinctive - if he had been in a state to assess the situation properly he would have probably tried to overpower not eliminate (in fact, he has been stabbed by a child). The groin as target is deliberate - if I'm to replace the femoral artery with a less fatal injury, I need something serious in that region.
Posted: 7/21/2010 3:36 AM PDT
I think the combination of being drunk (alcohol is a blood-thinner too!) and being wounded like that would be quite deadly. I would forget about the whole blood-poisoning problem: especially when you're bleeding from an artery, the chance of something entering the blood stream AND replicating there is very slim. You could have you main character try to fix some way to stop the bleeding, when he passes out just before or after his friends find him (this could be done with anything, a rope would be best).
What you could also do is replace the ruptured artery with another injury. You could have one of his feet get stuck, and make his bloodstream get pinched off. The pain can make you pass out (especially in combination with alcohol). Make sure you consider the fact that alcohol will anaesthetize him, and adrenaline (that works for about twenty minutes) will have a pain-diminishing effect too.
However, when the effect of the adrenaline start to fade, the alcohol alone wouldn't have enough effect to let your character ignore or endure the pain.
Think about it, I hope this was helpful.
Posted: 7/14/2010 1:17 PM PDT
I'd forgotten about blood vessel dilation with alcohol - curses!
'How drunk is "too drunk"' IS an issue, but I think I can get away with it - Nika has settled down with a bottle or two and some letters from home (bad news) and drunk himself insensible. However, I have leeway as to when, exactly, his assailant attacks. So, since the effect of the booze will be wearing off gradually as he sleeps, hopefully (for my plot!) the attack took place at an appropriate level of recovery.
But whether he bleeds out before he can bandage is now worrying me even more.
Given attacker WILL be going for groin area (target not clearly defined in camo's, and it IS very dark), could you suggest another injury - other than femoral artery - which will be serious enough to make him pass out again?
N.B. I can't have Nika permanently crippled by this, but an extended hospital stay is perfectly acceptable (at might actually solve some other plot problems!!)
Posted: 7/14/2010 1:09 PM PDT
mstrongair - you are getting distracted by the chapters you have already read featuring Nika: at the time of this fight, he is NOT in prison!
This scene occurs in a flashback to his time in the army, serving in Chechnya. Nika was in army uniform; the knife is actually a trophy he has picked up from a previous encounter, and currently carries.
He has left barracks on his own (stupid) and wandered off into countryside ("I need to be alone..."), so he does not have a field medikit with him, so will probably be improvising with bits of uniform for bandage. On the plus side, being currently stationed at a military base (Mozdok), not 'in the field', means that it is probably in a reasonable state of cleanliness.
When his comrades find him, in the morning, they can get him to a proper military hospital relatively rapidly. Septicaemia is always a risk, but not too bad here.
It's getting him through the night I'm worried about!
Posted: 7/11/2010 5:20 PM PDT
If anyone watched the past Olympics they'll remember this: months before the games one of the US speed skaters fell in a race and hit his skate against his leg, cutting his femoral. Everyone was surprised that he made it to the Olympics because it's apparently an injury that takes a long while to heal. Just a point of reference for you.
The thing that most concerns me about your character surviving is being intoxicated. If you are close to the point of unconsciousness, I seriously doubt that you have enough mental capacity to be able to care for yourself. If someone were that severely incapacitated and stabbed in the femoral, I would say that those friends should be planning a funeral. The life-or-death response will not work as well if the brain cannot register that the body is hurt (and if you are about to pass out from alcohol, you're brain can't register anything). However, if you make him moderately intoxicated, it would be a suspenseful plot point to see him stumbling about trying to fix his leg. Fight-or-flight will not overcome serious intoxication.
If I'm not mistaken, alcohol dilates your blood vessels. That's why you feel warm. So it would increase blood flow and make the blood loss from the femoral even faster. Remember that the femoral is the biggest blood vessel in your leg - it's not good to have it leaking at all, let alone stabbed and rushing out from dilated vessels.
FYI - don't trust the wikipedia on femoral arteries. It makes no sense.
Posted: 7/7/2010 7:28 PM PDT
Septicemia (same in English) is blood poisoning (which is different from Gangrena), and it reduces the immunodefensive system. A person can last up to 48 hours (I know this from real life).
In the Injury Scene, I think it is important to define the context... Prison? What type of prison? How clean?
Where does he get the bandage from --and how clean it is--? A sort of McGiver or Inspector Gadget thing?
What types of clothes is he wearing (to have a knife, bandages, what else?)
Where do the objects come from? What are the surroundings?
With this I'm not saying you should avoid writing these things, but just include the details that make the story more believable.
e.g. The prison could be close to a a first aid small room, so he gets the bandage there.
Posted: 7/7/2010 11:24 AM PDT
Thanks mstrongair & dorchadas.
Longer term is not a problem - my protagonist's comrades find him in the morning and will get him to a good military hospital quite rapidly.
My problem is that I want him to make it through the night! "How long" is = the amount of time needed to overpower a very easily defeated opponent, then apply some sort of bandaging to stop blood loss. (And no, losing the leg to gangrene would be disastrous to my plot!)
And to whoever said that such an easy opponent robs the fight of heroic status - it isn't meant to be Nika's most heroic moment! He shouldn't be drunk, he shouldn't be there, and he DEFINITELY misjudges the situation...
Posted: 7/3/2010 4:42 PM PDT
The thing is how long is "too soon" or "takes long" according to what the character needs to do.
You can also consider that depending on the type of weapon (knives, bullets,etc), the injury can be deadly not because of the amount of blood loss but "Septicemia" (Infection).
Posted: 7/3/2010 12:40 PM PDT
The femoral artery will cause fatal blood loss after only a few minutes, but it isn't a deat sentence. Even such a crude treatment as cauterisation will seal the vessel and keep the person alive.
Posted: 6/28/2010 1:48 PM PDT
The femoral arthery sounded quite fatal.
I then checked on Google.
I would look for other severe injuries that are not deadly.
Having an incompetent attacker (lighter, smaller and untrained) weakens the other character and it seems to turn the story in the heroic way. A principle on Strategy (Business and War) is to "Never underestimate the strength of your opponent" and I think this might be also considered when writing. A weak opponent is not really an opponent.
I know someone who survived a New York airplane crashed back in the 90s. He was totally drunk when that happened. Not many survived.
He underwent a lot of surgeries and have "platinas" but he is able to walk.
Hope this helps.
Posted: 6/28/2010 10:24 AM PDT
In my story, the main protagonist is stabbed in the thigh (the assailant was trying for groin, but in the dark, and not being used to fighting, was inaccuarate). I was intending to have the blow nick the femoral artery BUT I am concerned as to how soon he is likely to pass out due to loss of blood.
Is it realistic for him to throw off and overcome an incompetent attacker (lighter, smaller and untrained i.e. really no match for him), and then apply at least some sort of temporary dressing, so that he doesn't bleed to death, before he passes out? Or does this really all take too long, whilst he spray-paints the area with arterial blood?
At the point at which he was stabbed, he had been drinking heavily, to the point of unconsciousness. How does that amount of alcohol in the bloodstream affect the equation? (I'm assuming the adrenaline rush of a life-or-death situation brings him around to reasonable competence for the duration.)
I'm aiming for a naturalistic tone to my novel, not 'superman' heroics. My protagonist is competent and experienced (and not usually this drunk!), but not endowed with any preternatural endurance. I'm looking for what is really plausible, not stretching the limits of possibility. (n.b. his assailant is a hysterical 10year-old, so should not, in themselves, be a problem.)