Mad Maudlin (ginzai) wrote in little_details,
Mad Maudlin

Effects of starvation and renourishment; effects of this on a broken bone

I've a medical question for you guys and would be very grateful if you could help me out.

Setting: Midwest United States, 2000s
Character effected: Male, age 27, 6'1", in good health with a high metabolism. Very physically active. ~180 lbs.

His kidnappers did feed him to a minimal extent as their intent wasn't to kill him but his survival was generally not the highlight of their respective agendas.

He's rescued after a period of roughly four weeks. I would expect that this could cause his immune system to be severely weakened, significant weight loss, general malnutrition (his captors were more akin to provide him with cans of cold condensed soup when they remembered to feed him than fresh fruit or items he could actually get some vitamins out of), and so on. His access to water is better, but still limited. I've read that extreme starvation can result in lethargy, apathy, irritability, and general weakness as well.

My question to you all is how much weight should be lose under these circumstances and what would the major impact of this weight loss be? I've looked up calorie calculators that indicate that ~1400C/day would result in extreme weight loss and he'd be getting far less than that. I'm pretty much looking for exactly how far the starvation can be pushed without seriously endangering his life. Also, how long does renourishment generally take? Would it be reasonable to assume he'd be able to take on normal day to day activities within a month of rescue?

Further complicating things, he cannot be taken to a hospital after he's rescued due to legal issues. A family friend with medical training is willing to assist him though. In addition, his captors broke the fourth metatarsal of his left foot to prevent him from escaping. How long would this take to heal? It was broken by one of this captors stomping on it heavily. Personally, I broke two of my metatarsals once and it took about two months for them to heal enough to walk on without a cast. What impact would his starvation have on his bones healing?

As a side question to that, how likely would it be that such an injury would not need to be set? Mine did not, but I was clumsy and fell down the stairs - no one deliberately inflicted my broken bones. The bones are broken about two weeks before his rescue (he's generally kept off his feet during this time though) and I want to be sure that they'd still be likely to heal afterward.

I've read some interesting articles while trying to do research, particularly on the starvation topic. has some good details, as did the ones I read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. If any of you have any ideas, I would be most grateful to hear them! Thanks!
Tags: ~medicine: injuries: broken bones, ~medicine: starvation/malnourishment

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