First Aid/Gunshot


QUESTION: I was shot point blank through my left trapezius muscle with a 12 gauge shotgun slug.  There is a big hole, at the top of the wound my trap is still connected by a thin tendon (I believe).  It's been like that for 5 days.  I've been taking antibiotics, I've been spraying it with alcohol and keeping it bandaged, most the time with an antibiotic cream over the bandages.

I can't go to the hospital or I will go to prison.  So I need advice on how to treat this from home.  I can take pictures and send them if you'd like. My main concern is my muscle is distorted in the posterior trapezius almost as if it had 'melted' and formed a ledge per say.  I need to know what I need to do to treat this and how I can make sure it heals properly from home.  Thank you.

ANSWER: Hello Andrew,

That wound seems quite serious (or potentially serious). First, congratulations on staying alive for 5 days. Some antibiotics are better than others for specific kinds of wounds and tissues. What you really need as far as antibiotics you probably don't have left over from your last sore throat. I'm not sure spraying the wound with alcohol does a lot to prevent infection, and may do more to destroy the tissue that has survived. If the wound was shallow I'd say maybe it was a lucky shot and you'll be OK but your mention of the "muscle distortion" which makes me think this is a deeper wound. you have three options at this point: treatment (with the possibility of jail time), death (if an infection occurs or enough tissue dies in the upcoming weeks), or a possible recovery with some degree of disability (disability judging from your description of muscle damage).

My strong recommendation is to get the wound professionally treated. jail time, even 5 or 10 years, I believe, would be preferable to death which is a term of at least a couple million years. Make good decisions my friend.

I wish health and wisdom to you.


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That\'s a pic
That's a pic  
QUESTION: I was afraid about the alcohol. Fortunately the antibiotics were for
My dog and are in fact used for puncture wounds. Any further advice would be appreciated. Thanks

Hello again Andrew,

Yea, that wound looks pretty bad. I'd still think about getting that looked at by a doctor. I would be very surprised if that healed on it's own with only home treatment. What is likely to happen is you will get a deep infection, there will be deep tissue death that will release toxins in the body and hopefully someone can drop you at an ED for treatment. The longer you delay treatment the more likely you are to loose your arm, or possibly die. Do what you can to find a doctor to at least evaluate, culture the wound.

Get better soon, make the right choice.


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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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