January 24th, 2007

London Blitz -- assistance for the newly homeless?

I have a character who has just been bombed out of her flat during the Blitz -- she comes out of shelter and finds the entire building where her flat pretty much gone so all she has is her small suitcase of a few bits of clothing and a tiny amount of money. She has a job as a typist and no children or other dependents. In order to provide as much information as possible, she's about 19 and lives in Bethnal Green.

What is the typical amount of aid she could receive from her local council/the government/any aid agency in general? She has no one to stay with but will probably present herself as less desperate than she really is. Her only family is in Liverpool but she will not mention them as a possibility (they don't speak to each other). In her situation, what is the standard minimum she could/would receive? Would she be told to return for benefits more than once?

I'm quite crap at finding information and while research has helped me w/ most of my questions in regard to writing this, I haven't found an answer for this.

US Military Award for foreign national in 1991

My question is as follows: A British civilian (ex-British Special Forces SAS soldier) working as close security in a crisis zone in 1991 is being taken to another location by a US military flight in a helicopter. The purpose of the flight is non combatant and there is no expected enemy action any more, since the enemy had surrendered. The helicopter is shot down by insurgents (who could be classed as enemies? Or do they have to be "official" enemies?) co-pilot dies, pilot and two crew are injured. To cut a long story short, extraction by US military is not possible at that stage and the British character gets them all to safety, including one incidents of enemy/insurgent confrontation. Without the character, the chances of the injured crew would have been very slim (insurgents knew the crash site).

I am not interested in if any of the above is realistic (it has been written, is finished, and reads very well), but the question is would the British national receive a medal for his fairly heroic deeds, putting his own life on the line (injured as well, but functional) to get them all out of the danger zone?

If yes, what would it be? I have been searching on several sites for information on US military medals and when they are given out, but alas, I am an expert in all things British army, but know nothing about US military.

Now, I have found quite a bit of information on US medals, like the Soldier's medal and the Legion of Merit and its Legionnaire degree, but what it does not tell me is the nitty gritty detail of would someone who is not working directly for the US army (thus for Soldier's medal "or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States" does not apply) but neither does it apply that the character is still in the British Forces nor government (thus for Legion of Merit "decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.") does not apply either.

Furthermore, the Soldier's medal is not for direct contact with an enemy, but I cannot find out if the scenario described above classifies as direct contact or not. Neither have I been able to find out (through the descriptions of awards) if the incident would even warrant as medal-material at all, let alone the Legion of Merit (legionnaire class). I do have to say that the British Forces are a lot more reluctant to award medals than the US military, thus the information that I found is all very nebulous to me.

Any and all insider information is most highly appreciated.

UCMJ Trial Stuff

So, I'm writing a Stargate: Atlantis fic. For those not familiar with the setting, Atlantis is an ancient abandoned city on an alien world and there's an Earth expedition that's settled there to study the tech and get to know the natives of nearby planets and the like. The expedition is international and civilian, but has a strong military presence-- a couple hundred servicemen, mostly US Air Force and Marines, under the command of an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Getting back and forth to Atlantis can take some time and effort.

Cut for squicky underage sex plot. Also, anyone wanting to read this fic and be at all surprised should NOT read further.Collapse )

Living for a few days after brain injury

Setting (Time and Place): late 1920s United States (on a boat in Lake Michigan, as it happens)

Search Engine and key words used: I've read up on brain injury on various medical websites, including the Paralysis Resource Center and so forth... Also poked around in the tag lists here.

Query: Character gets shot in the head, bullet is lodged in brain. She stays alive long enough to ask to be taken home to her estranged family, and to witness a good chunk of that journey. She has to make it to Detroit by boat from just outside Chicago, so she has to stay alive at least a day or two. Is this feasible? If so, what part of the brain is the bullet lodged in, and what ultimately kills her?

My best guesses, but I'd like confirmation and help with the, uh, little details: I'd suspect that the bullet can be lodged in a place that doesn't affect the speech and hearing centers of the brain, and that the character can stay alive (and lucid) long enough to make her wishes known and to survive most of the trip. (She could survive a lot longer depending on where the bullet sits, but you know, plot. And angst.) Can the swelling from the injury take up to two days to kill her, or do I need to do something like give her seizures from the injury, which could eventually get so bad that they drive the bullet further into her brain where it then properly kills her? I want her to die at just the right moment, and a dramatic seizure would be... nice.

minor gunshot wounds

Well, I give up. Wikipedia, Google, my reference books on trauma and ordnance, the National Institute of OhMyGodThatHurts, the tags for this community and itfeelslike have all failed me.

My POV character gets shot. But it can't be very serious - I need her back on her feet and ready for more abuse fast, like a day or two, no more. She's getting banged up too much, I don't want her to be the Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon. It also can't be "shot in the leg" because she's gotta do some serious physical stuff two chapters from now and she's gonna need her legs.

I thought I read somewhere once that you can get shot in the chest, but the bullet deflects off the rib and all you get is OW, blood and maybe a cracked rib. Impressive looking, nicely painful, but no major organ damage and she's back in a couple of days.

And although it won't work for this story, I also remember something similar for getting shot in the head - if the bullet strikes the skull at just the right angle, it ricochets off. LOTS of blood, big headache, very upsetting for the bystanders, but no serious damage.

Bottom line: she's gotta get hit, be hurt, some blood and pain, but remain functional. Ideas? Thoughts? Comments? What the hell are you doing to your poor characters?

God forbid, if anyone has actually BEEN shot and is willing to share what it feels like, I'll gladly take it. Here, on private email (elizabethdonald at yahoo dot com) and/or on itfeelslike, a far-too-quiet community that could probably use some participation from this so-lively group.

Cross-posted to my journal. Thanks to all.
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Middle Eastern Bread

I am looking and looking for Middle Eastern bread--why do so many recipes result in a type of flat bread? Not that I have anything against it; I love the stuff. But it seems there's a definite split between Middle East & West when it comes to bread--Western Europe having the thick crumb breads, and the Middle East not. Does anyone know of recipes from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc., that are for the Western sort of bread?
  • Current Mood: anxious

Blood Pressure and Pulse on a Gunshot Victim

Setting: mid 1990s. The patient is a fifteen year old who was shot with a .44 caliber revolver. There's no exit wound and the paramedics suspect that the bullet may have ricocheted inside the chest cavity or the abdomen but there are no obvious symptoms yet. She's in an ambulance with a paramedic in attendance and a doctor from the ER on the radio giving instructions as he's given patient information.

Search Engines used: I used Wikipedia, an article on splenic trauma from http://www.healthatoz.com, and MedLine Plus Online Encyclopedia as well as eMedicine and Web MD. they all give a wide variety of information but I'd like suggestions for specifics.

The Question: Hypervolemic shock is already established and the articles say that pulse would be elevated and blood pressure low. However, the articles on splenic trauma and hemopneumothorax say that blood pressure may be either artificially inflated by the trauma or low. Given the combination of injuries (and I'm looking for the ER docs to miss the splenic injury at first since they're concentrating on the gun shot wound itself and on the hemopneumothorax), which would it be: high or low? Secondarily --- and none of the articles cover this --- what would be the likely pulse, temperature, and blood pressure readings for a fifteen year old in this condition?

I didn't want to just throw a bunch of vitals up and have them be completely wrong for the injuries.
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