Hepcat (nwhepcat) wrote in little_details,
Hepcat
nwhepcat
little_details

Traumatic pneumothorax -- treatment and recovery

I've been watching and commenting here for a while, but this is my first post of a question.

My character has been shot in the chest with a crossbow, collapsing a lung. Due to the sound of his lungs, another character determines it's a sucking chest wound/tension pneumothorax, which can rapidly lead to death due to failure of the heart or insufficient oxygen in the lungs.

He's taken to a major city hospital within minutes (and this is present-day), stabilized and taken into surgery to repair the injury.

Most of what I've found on pneumothorax refers to spontaneous collapse of a lung (and FYI, if you're a tall, skinny young man it seems it's not the best idea to stand directly in front of a stack of speakers at a heavy metal concert). A collapsed lung not caused by injury has a recovery time of about one to two weeks, but what about our crossbowed character? Once he's out of surgery, would he be on a ventilator for a while? Would he be lying completely flat as he recovered, or would they raise his head (and about how much)? How long before he's off the ventilator, if they have him on one? How long before he's out of the hospital? And how long before he feels back to normal once he's discharged?

What sorts of meds would he be on? Morphine or other pain meds, I assume. Also something for potential infection, or would they wait to see if there were symptoms? Any specific descriptions on how he'd be feeling at various points of his injury/recovery would be very helpful.

And the magic question: Is there anything else I should know about that I haven't thought to ask?

Thanks for your input!
Tags: ~medicine: injuries to order
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