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Gunshot to thigh and recovery
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un_sedentary wrote in little_details
Terms searched: Thigh gunshot, thigh gunshot recovery, thigh gunshot recovery physiotherapy, thigh gunshot recovery case study.

Setting: Unites States, 2006

My character is a Caucasian, otherwise healthy female, approximately 40 years old. I need her to be shot in the thigh, either from the side or from the back. She's shot in a hospital, and receives prompt surgery and treatment.

I need her to be in physiotherapy for at least the minimal amount of time after she's discharged from hospital.

1. Assuming the bullet doesn't hit bone or an important nerve that could impair use of the leg in the long term, how long would she be in hospital after surgery?

2. Would she need a wheelchair in the first stage(s) of recovery? For how long?

3. Would she be able to go straight into physiotherapy? Could she regain full use of her leg in a matter of a couple of months?

Ideally, I would like her to be in a wheelchair for no more than 2 weeks, to suffer some chronic pain for 7-8 weeks and to regain full use of her leg by the end of 12 weeks. Is this realistic? Adjustments to this timeline are welcome.

I'm not a medical worker of any sort, but a GSW to the thigh would be serious business, unless she just got it grazed. If you hit the femoral artery, it's easy to bleed to death even if you're in a hospital at the time.

Anyway, good luck with this one!

Total agreement. My first reaction was "Femoral artery??"

I was hoping there was some sort of compromise between a severed femoral artery/permanent disability, and just lucking out with a graze.

I'm hoping there's a middle ground between seriously screwed and just grazed... Also hoping we can assume the femoral artery wasn't severed.

Thanks! :)

Depending on where in the thigh she was shot, you can avoid it. The femoral artery is inside the thigh, with the easiest access point near the groin. (Docs use it to insert catheters for cardiac procedures like stents. It's a nice, big artery.

I just had a character shot through the thigh (and abdomen, poor guy), but I made the shot go basically across the front of his leg, in front of the femur, at an angle that doesn't go through the femoral artery. He still bleeds like fuck, though.

Part I of "Gunshot Wounds: a Summary:" should help give you a general idea of what sort of wound is possible:

This FBI article also is worth a gander, especially the section entitled "Mechanics of Handgun Wounding":

Basically, the problem you'll have is that even if the bullet misses the artery, the force of impact can cause bone to splinter and travel through soft tissue. Perhaps she could be shot on the outside of the leg with a low powered, low caliber round. I don't know enough about the subject to really know what's most feasible, though.

Is it possible your shooter could use frangible ammo? These are specifically designed to break apart on impact and not penetrate very far. They're still potentially lethal (every type of round is), but will not produce the same cavity or depth of wound either a hollow point or full metal jacket round would.

Thank you!

I don't think fangible ammo would work, as my shooter is using a handgun and aiming to kill. (Well, he's aiming to kill the other character he shoots in the same scene, anyway.)

If the femoral artery is severed, though, would she still have a reasonable chance at survival? Since she's in a hospital, and a hospital employee at that, I would imagine she would be rushed to surgery immediately with plenty of blood tranfustions ready to go. (If it helps, this is also a canon where once a character glued someone's femoral back together...)

Also, what if the bullet hit closer to the knee?

If need be, I could write the bullet hitting neither bone nor artery, so it would basically be a graze - could she still need physio for the damaged muscle?

Not quite the same injury, but a local guy got a star picket horizontally through the back of his thigh. He had minimal blood loss and was up and walking within two days. He has some numb spots down his leg, but no other lasting damage. Everyone freaked out because of the major arteries that he could have hit, but didn't.

her femur


2009-12-12 11:24 am (UTC)

front or side of her thigh is best. Bullet breaks her femur, she will be in a cast for 6 months. No long term residual, just a pretty little bullet hole to show off with a short skirt

shot in thigh


2011-06-26 01:57 am (UTC)

I actually have been through this in my life and as a result of a AK-47 i got shot in my upper thigh and from behind it hit my main artery and yes I could have died but obviously didn't BUT the recovery has been painful and slow. I lost a massive amount of my muscle in my thigh and now have difficulties walking uphill. Did not use a wheel chair but was told i should use crutches. I surprised all the staff the week and a half i was there started walking the second day but not completely but took steps but it hurt beyond words.....anyway this is my personal experience

I was shot in my artery in my leg about a month ago and had a vain and artery surgery how long will it take for me to walk?

I was shot in the right thigh about a month ago. I was shot with a .40 caliber at close range the bullet went straight through, hitting only muscle and not my artery or bone. I walked on crutches for about a week and a half and after That kinda limped around awhile. The docs advice was to attend rehabilitation but I never went. Lasting affects would be I have numbness in my big toe and buttocks and swollen knee.

I recently took a 7.62 caliber round to my thigh roughly 8 inches above my knee it entered on the right/front portion of my thigh and exited out of the left/front. I only use a wheelchair if wherever I'm going will require a lot of walking otherwise I just hobble around on crutches. It's been close to three weeks and I've had 6 small surgeries since it happened. The round did miss my femur and femoral artery but I'm missing a good chunk of muscle and the entire left side of my calf is numb and my knee is swollen and numb as well. Doctors did tell me if I had to get shot in the leg the way it happened to me was the best way it could've happened. But with the simple surgeries I've had (washouts/wound vac change) I still can't start physical therapy for another 5 weeks at best... Hope this helps