March 31st, 2011

GSW - Potential damage from grazings and close-to-surface penetration

Hello there LD! I have a dilemma that hopefully can be solved.

I have a character who is quite frequently getting shot at, but who is also quite good at dodging bullets (yes, I know, I know; this isn't canon I came up with). That said, he can't dodge them completely all the time, and has a number of scars from very close misses.

What I'd like to know is this: What is some of the worst potential surface damage that could be inflicted by a bullet graze? I know it can dig furrows out of the skin, and that at very close firing distances burns are a likelihood. Is there any chance of muscle being rendered inoperable, or of massive trauma to surrounding skin that was not directly scored by the bullet?

I also know that with grazes, stopping the bleeding and preventing infection are priorities, and that they don't usually require hospital attention. Would stitching be a requirement for deeper furrow-like grazes? Can stitching be used, or could something like cauterization be necessary?

Finally, I'd like to know the likelihood of a shot going through or getting lodged near the surface of the skin (making it almost a graze but not quite) — particularly on the arms or torso. Is the damage for that sort of thing a little more dangerous than a standard graze, or a lot more? Could it be properly treated at home or would it require a hospital visit? Is there a specific medical term for that kind of injury?

(The character in question is a career criminal and as thus is a little opposed to being admitted to hospitals for gunshot wounds.)

Google search terms: bullet graze injuries (lots of stuff on Wyclef Jean)
Google Books: The trauma manual: trauma and acute care surgery (I honestly can't understand half of what's written here), Medical legal aspects of medical records
Wikipedia: abrasion (medical)
Articles: What happens when someone is shot? Medical info needed., Firearm Injuries, First Aid/Gunshot wound/graze
Past LD articles: Graze gunshot wounds, In response to all the Shootings and Stabbings
  • Current Mood: hopeful