Karen von S. (lookninjas) wrote in little_details,
Karen von S.

Treatment and Rehabilitation of a (Possibly) Cracked Femur and Partially/Completely Torn Hamstring

The setting is modern-day United States, in the midwest. Relatively urban. The character in question is being treated in a hospital with a class two trauma center, if that helps at all.

Basically, I have successfully injured a character, and now I'm having problems figuring out how he's going to get treated. The character in question was attempting to disarm an assailant, and wound up more or less shooting himself in the leg. The injury is never completely described (I know my limits; the more specific I get, the more likely I am to be wrong), but what I'm imagining is this: the bullet enters somewhere near the center of the quadricep, maybe a little to the outside, and angles to the outside of the leg as it exits. It probably does some damage to the femur (chipping and/or causing a crack but not completely fracturing the bone), and certainly causes tearing to the quadriceps and some (but probably not all) of the muscles that form the hamstrings. The femoral artery is not damaged. The character is at a hospital being treated within the hour.

The question is -- now what?

From the research I've done, I'm guessing that his stay in the hospital will probably be brief (unless they decide to do surgery on the torn hamstring, but most of the sources I've seen so far say that it "may" be necessary, not that it "will" be necessary) -- I'm leaning towards keeping him there overnight, but I'm willing to be corrected if that's unrealistic (either unrealistically long or unrealistically short -- I'm not picky.) But what I'm most concerned about is what condition he'll be in when he's released. I'm fairly certain he'll be on crutches, for the muscle damage if nothing else. But would there be any external devices used to immobilize his leg, so he can't exacerbate his injuries? I'm assuming that casts (plaster or aircast) would be out, because hello, open wounds, and I've read that a traction splint would be used for a full femoral fracture -- could I use that for a cracked/chipped bone, or would that be overkill? How would the hamstring injury play into this, if at all? How well would be he able to bend or otherwise move his leg? How much would his orthopedist want him to move his leg? And at what point would his condition be downgraded from "may require surgery" to "will require surgery?" Would the surgery be ASAP, or would it be something that they'd schedule for a later date?

Also, how long would he be on crutches? Two weeks seems about standard for the hamstring injury, but there's also the cracked bone to consider. Maybe a month? Longer? Shorter?

I'm okay with handwaving some of the details if necessary -- like I said, I know that getting specific will pretty much doom me to getting it all wrong -- but I really want to know what his leg's going to look like when all is said and done. I'm pretty sure people are going to be looking at it, after all; it would seem very weird to have everyone spending the next month or so with their eyes focused above the character's waist. Also, it'll influence the way he moves, the way he sits, the clothes he wears... So it's important to me that I get this mostly right. Or at least not drastically wrong.

So far, I have searched: "treatment of torn hamstring," "hamstring avulsion flexion splint," "surgery to repair torn hamstring," "treatment of cracked femur," and "traction splint for cracked femur." I've also gone through the tags on gunshot wounds and broken bones, as you do, but it's entirely possible I've missed something.

Anyone have any insight?
Tags: ~medicine: injuries (misc)

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