October 13th, 2015

Gunshot wound to lower leg: Mid-Nineteenth Century Australia

Hello folks,

I have a few questions related to a story I am writing which involves an escaped convict being shot in the leg.

Setting: 1860's Australia.
Previous Research: Some medical sites, medical journals, medic wiki & searched terms 'gunshot wound to the leg recovery time' & 'shotgun wounds leg'.
Scenario: Man, early 30's, escapes from penal colony and is shot in the lower leg from approx. 12-15 yards away. Weapon used could possibly be a 12 gauge, double-barrel, breech loading, mid 19th century shotgun. Shooter is a terrible shot and fired accidentally. Medical attention is immediate but not from medical professional and Doctors are unfeasible due to them being miles away. Small amount of Laudanum (opium tincture) is ingested by victim during initial treatment.

What I ultimately require is shotgun leg wound/s (superficial) that would be non-fatal but would take at least a couple of weeks to heal. Patient would obtain permanent limp but may be mobile with crutches/cane within several days of incident.

1) Would bullet fragments/shrapnel need to be removed in the immediate treatment of the wound/s?
2) Would constant re bandaging/redressing be necessary for this type of injury?
3) Would there be much blood loss initially?
4) How soon would it be possible for a patient to get out of bed (using cane/crutches) after this type of injury?
5) Could a person with no substantial medical knowledge help this patient sufficiently to survive?
6) What would mid-nineteenth century treatment of this type of injury possibly be?

I know I'm asking a lot here but I would be appreciative of any help or assistance that could be provided. I have very little medical or weapons knowledge.