August 19th, 2007


Health issues in a newborn

The Setting: modern day Wisconsin, USA

The Problem:
I've got this character who is twelve when the story takes place; he was abandoned as an infant because he was sickly and blind, and his mother was very young and irresponsible. He was found by... well, not really a good Samaritan, but someone who took good care of him, so he grew up pretty healthy. Aside from being blind I want him to have a defining scar somewhere on his torso from a surgery done when he was fresh and new -- anywhere from newborn to eight months. I have two troubles here.

1. Would the scar be mostly visible? I assume so, as I've known people with visible scars from old surgeries, but I don't know if it'd be different on an infant/child.
2. What on earth kind of surgery could an infant have done that doesn't come with a million other problems? Other than being blind and the surgery, I'd like him to be mostly healthy -- his good Samaritan would not be likely to take him to a hospital except in an emergency. I've considered chalking it up to a premature birth causing the trouble, but I don't know if that'd be accurate. And if it's not entirely possible, I can rework his character to include other health issues -- ahh, the beauty of the editing process.

Search Terms Used:
Google and I had a moment. Several, over the following phrases. (I confess, I got confused very quickly; I find it really hard to follow medical stuff. And I kept running into this same article site that I couldn't actually read any articles on. o_O;)

"newborn surgery abdominal"
"omphalocele" "newborn"
"newborn defects", surgery
blindness in newborns, other defects
newborn, surgery, spinal
"newborn surgery" lungs

Thanks in advance, and sorry if I missed something deeply obvious! ^^"

Edit (12 Hours Later):
Thanks! You guys rock hard, and I've now got a dozen different leads to follow and build upon. Thanks again! <3

Details and aftermath of a cut throat

I'm writing a pseudo-medieval fantasy where there is a flashback of a girl getting her throat cut. She is entirely trusting of the murderer up until the second before he kills her, so he manages to grab her without trouble. He would know how to cut the throat properly (i.e. not hitting the windpipe) so, with that in mind ...

- How much blood would splatter onto her clothes?
- When he lets her go and she falls to the ground, if the cut is deep enough, would she be unconscious?
- How long would it take her to die?
- For how long would she keep bleeding?
  • brianne

sending letters in Europe

Hi. I'm writing an epistolary novel with my friend and we were wondering about the mail service in Europe. We weren't really sure how to google something like this so she recommended this community.

How long does it take (approximately) for a letter to reach Frankfurt from Paris? I'm assuming it's about the same in the opposite direction, but correct me if it's not for some reason.

We googled "Paris Frankfurt mail", "Paris to Frankfurt letter", "Frankfurt to Paris letter", "european mail times". And I checked the French and German mail service sites, but I couldn't navigate them very well.

Thanks in advance,

ETA: Is there mail service on Sundays in Europe?
We googled "mail sundays france" and "mail sundays germany"

Respiratory Therapy for Aspiration Pneumonitis post-ICU

I've posted this question over at too, but Yahoo seems to be backed up at the moment.

I'm writing a Batman fanfiction set in present-day New Jersey (at least that's where the DC Atlas puts Gotham City). I've just inflicted Aspiration Pneumonitis on Bruce, as a consequence of smoke/co2 inhalation.

I'm wondering, once he's stablized and no longer in ICU, what course of treatment would be followed, and what sort of timeline am I looking at? I've been told that respiratory therapy would be necessary. What would that entail specifically?

A Google search on respiratory+therapy+aspiration+pneumonitis did have some hits. The problem is, some of the sites (like emedicine) are written in medicalese...

Others like and are giving me a good overview of what RT might potentially involve, but I lack the expertise to know which treatments would be warranted in my character's case.

I do want him to recover fully with no permanent damage, but I don't mind if some of the after-effects take longer to go away.

Character is in his early 40s. Previously he was a top (Olympic calibre) athlete but in my fic he's been under lock and key for about two years. He would not have had access to a weight room or other fitness aids, but he has been doing callisthenics in his cell. Not sure how relevant that would be, but mentioning just in case.