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First Aid/recovery from abdominal gun shot wound



I am a writer and want to ensure the scene I am writing is true to life.  If a person suffers a gunshot wound to their abdominal area, which doesn't hit any major organs and they survive, what does recovery "look like"  a couple months later.  In other words, 2 months after it happened, could they plausibly be (assuming they were young and otherwise healthy and strong)  up and walking around?  Would the wound still be bandaged?  Any other visible sign of the injury at that point?

Thanks very much in advance.


Hello Alissa,

A gun shot wound to the abdomen frequently become infected. After your character arrives at the hospital they would be taken to surgery within 30 minutes. surgery would last between an hour and four hours. The patient would end up on a surgical floor (or a specialized gastric surgery unit). the patient would likely have a temporary colostomy bag in for about 6 months (it can then be taken out and reversed). As long as there wasn't any resistant infections or bleeding after the operation or the need for re-operations. the patient should be able to discharged to home (with the colostomy bag) after 3-4 weeks.

For the first week it will be very hard to sit up/ stand without help due to pain from the open abdominal surgery. Vicodin- 5/500 (5mg Hydrocodone/ 500mg Acetaminophen) is taken every 6 hours as needed for pain. After a week the Vicodin isn't needed as much as can be discontinued. over the next month your character can expect steady improvement with less pain, and it will become easier to get from sitting or laying down to standing. after 4-6 month the character can schedule a colostomy reversal to have the hole shut and reinstate the normal bowel routine.

Here is a link for colostomy surgery:

Good luck with your story.


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Marcus LaBarbera


I am available to answer most questions related to: first aid, pre- hospital medicine, EMT and Paramedic questions, medical transport, critical care transport, ICU/CCU care, sedation, and medicine in general.


I have worked as a NYS Paramedic since 1993 for both community based ambulance companies and large commercial agencies. I Have experience as bike team commander, and shift supervisor for a commercial ambulance. As a member of the Disaster team I was deployed to Louisiana for 20 days following hurricane Katrina. I worked along side the county Haz-Mat team as a "Tox-Medic" with advanced training in treating injuries from chemical agents. Besides my experience on the on the ambulance I have worked in a number of hospital based offices including dialysis and a sleep lab.

I started my EMS career as a NYS CFR (Certified First Responder)in 1989, an EMT in 1991, a Paramedic since 1993, and a CCU transport paramedic since 2005. I currently hold certification as a: NYS Paramedic, Critical Care Transport Paramedic, ACLS/CPR/PALS certified. Advanced Haz-Mat Life Support certified (AHLS). In the past I have taught CPR and ACLS to my coworkers and the local community.

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