░ (introductory) wrote in little_details,

introductory
little_details

Injury-to-order: near-fatal injury that still allows consciousness

Setting: collapsing underground military base, near-future

Research: looking up variants of earthquake injuries, car crashes, disaster injuries, etc, on PubMed and Google; several case studies on emergency medical journals; ~200 entries in the medicine:injuries:misc and medicine:injuries:made-to-order tags on this community

Context: I have a character that I need as close to death as possible, practically hopeless, to the point where paramedics suggest he be left behind in an evacuation. The main cause of the injuries is an earthquake/collapsing building, though the specific injuries are currently up for grabs. I am having trouble finding a balance between the critical nature of the injury vs. I initially considered crush injury from having debris/his plane fall onto him, but ruled it out due to the lack of available time/equipment. I would also like to avoid significant (possibly disabling) spinal/nerve damage and concentrate mainly on organs.

Assume futuristic medical technology -- if the character can make it to the hospital, he will survive (because sci-fi), but without treatment he will unquestionably die within the hour.

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1a. What kind of injuries would be plausible? I know that most blunt trauma injuries generally result in internal organ damage and broken/fractured bones -- is there a way to have visible external bleeding/gore using debris/his surroundings, or would it need to be an impalement injury? I'm all right with having him simply crushed/battered but I would like the injuries to appear fatal to a regular observer. (Would having a punctured lung from a broken rib lead to him coughing up blood?)

1b. If impaling is the way to go, would the impaling object limit the amount of blood that actually leaves the body? And since damage to the organs is critical, could I have something impale the character and nick the liver/intestines/an important artery without immediately having him die? The only problem with this is that most impalement injuries I have seen in case studies seem to be relatively less serious (people with punctured lungs walking to the hospital, etc) as long as you can keep the object in place and I do not believe they would be immediately dismissed as "we've got to leave him behind"?

2. Another concern, though secondary, is that the dialogue be as medically accurate as possible -- were the medics to do a scan of his body, what would the terminology be for their findings? Most articles I have found generalized injuries to something like "blunt abdominal trauma" or "spinal damage," but I am interested in how the medics would describe the immediate findings. Assuming the paramedics have sci-fi devices that can read internal damage, would they report their findings in terms of vitals --> organ damage --> skeletal damage? (This part can be handwaved somewhat by distracting the POV character if need be.)

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tl;dr: I have a character I need as near death as possible without actually being dead, with at least a few minutes of consciousness -- the more serious the injury appears to a non-doctor, the better.

Thank you for helping, all comments are very much appreciated!
Tags: ~medicine: injuries to order
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