December 26th, 2012

Hiding Ribs/Liver Injury

Hello, it's my first time here & I think I’m so lucky to find this community, it’s very useful & I could get a lot of information I needed in various topics. But I still have some questions that I couldn’t find an answer for it.
I’m writing a fictional story, sets in mid 90s, US. My MC is a 30 years old healthy, medium built male, he gets wounded by a piece of metal to the ribs when he gets caught (by accident) in an explosion. He can’t reveal this to his colleagues so he tries to hide it, so, here is what I think & what I need:
1. I’m thinking that the wound can be under his ribs from the right side, I need him to bleed heavily with a lot of pain but still be able to get on his feet, is hitting the liver by the metal piece will be plausible enough for such a case? If no, what else?
2. Let’s say he could arrive to a safe hiding place & decided to treat himself by stopping the bleeding & putting some stitches on his wound, of course he’ll be in unsterilized environment which may lead to cause an infection in his wound, how much time he can have before the first visible signs of infection will appear?
3. What is the order of these visible signs? What appears first? How can he feel? (I’m writing from the MC’s POV).
4. During that time (mentioned in 3), will he be able to move (walk, or maybe drive a car)?
5. How much time he can have before collapsing? What is the most convincing reason for collapsing (in your opinion)? High fever? Shock? Another reason?
6. Let’s say he couldn’t receive a proper medical treatment because he doesn’t have access to a hospital or a doctor, only to an old nurse with limited resources, will that cause complications for his condition?
7. How much time he need to recover & to be able to walk & work again?
8. Let’s say he is stubborn & decided to get up from bed before he is fully recovered, will that cause complications for him? If so, What kind of complications he may have?
I searched for “Hidden Injuries” , “Ribs Injuries” , “Stab wounds to Ribs” , “Secret Injuries” I found some useful information but not what I exactly need, I’m writing the story from my MC’s POV as I mentioned before so I need a detailed information, I really hope you can help me.
Sorry for the long topic & for my bad English. I appreciate any help you can offer.
Thank you.

Probable types of explosions at concert venues and resulting injuries

Time: August 2009
Place: White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, Washington, USA

I’m writing an original piece, and a pivotal scene involves an explosion at an outdoor concert venue. The main character, a guitarist, is playing on stage when the blast occurs. The crowd quickly breaks out into a panic and begins to disperse, but a member of the audience manages to reach him amidst the chaos and pull him to safety. She quells the flames on his clothes by rolling him around when they’re in a safe place, but other than that, she doesn’t do much except stay by his side until the EMTs arrive.

The logistics of both the explosion and the resulting injuries are a little confusing though, and I just wanted to ask for some clarification on certain matters.

There are just a few things I want to know before proceeding:

1. What type of explosion would be most likely for an amphitheatre/outdoor concert venue? I would prefer it to be something that could be classified as an accident, such as something stemming from an equipment/electrical issue, but considering how the only Google results for ‘explosion at concert’ and variations thereof are stories of bombs detonating at concert venues, I’ll accept that if that’s the only feasible option. The only thing I don’t want is for this explosion to be too catastrophic in nature. Essentially, I would like it to be escapable by most individuals.

2. For a minor explosion, how far away would the protagonist in question need to be standing to ultimately escape with minor lung damage, second degree burns covering a large portion of the back and a medium-sized third degree burn on the right shoulder? Naturally, his back would be turned to the actual site of the blast, and he isn’t wearing very thick or flameproof material. I wanted the explosion to occur somewhere close to the stage, but if it’s impossible for him to survive with those injuries at such proximity, I’ll try to figure something else out.

3. With the aforementioned injuries, what length of time would the main character be hospitalized for? He’s initially taken to a nearby trauma center that has a special unit for burn treatment, if that has any effect on the length of the stay. I was thinking around two to three weeks, but I admittedly have no idea.

This one is slightly unrelated to the questions previous, but it is nonetheless important:

4. Would it be feasible for the main character to suffer from moderate PTSD after this incident despite his being unconscious for a significant portion of the disaster? Before this event, he was of sound mind and wasn’t easily rattled by anything, and never faced any kind of trauma (physical or psychological) in his life. I’ve thoroughly researched PTSD itself, but I’m still a bit unclear on whether it would be possible if he was only conscious and aware during certain portions of the incident.

Those are the four things I was struggling with the most. I would sincerely appreciate any help on the matter, and naturally, please feel free to correct me if I’m under any misconceptions or if the very nature of the incident I seek to set up is too unrealistic to actually occur.

Google searches: “explosion at concert,” “causes of electrical explosions,” “explosion injuries,” “results of small explosions,” “hospital stay for burn injuries,” “how long is someone kept in the hospital for burns”