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First Aid/I though I wanted it to be a gunshot wound...



I hope your day is going well!

All right, I am currently writing a story where there's been a major social collapse. I had a scene planned out where a character gets shot, maybe in the collarbone, maybe the leg, hadn't quite decided, I just wanted it to be relatively bad.

However, after reading what gunshot wounds can do, I'm not sure I want that anymore, since he won't have access to a hospital and the best medical care around is his girlfriend who was studying to be a nurse, but didn't finish her training. She has extensive first aid training and a lot of common sense, but she was never certified and she's certainly not a doctor/surgeon.

So my question is, what potential injuries could render a person unconscious for awhile and put them out of action for roughly 2-4 weeks? I don't mean I want him to fully recover by then, but maybe start getting around on his own.

My bad guy has a myriad of weapons but the biggest things he uses are fire, guns, and cattle prods, and he's bringing a small army; and my good guys had the foresight to raid a hospital, so they have access to painkillers and antibiotics you wouldn't find just anywhere.

I'd still do a gunshot wound, but I really got attached to this character and would hate to kill him.

Thanks in advance!

Hello Lila,

A good blow to the head wound make someone unconscious for 2-15 minutes, but probably wouldn't be disabling for 2-4 weeks. and if it was it's likely he wouldn't fully recover. A gunshot wound (from a pistol, 9mm would be appropriate and realistic, most militaries use 9mm in pistols)... to the muscle of the arm or leg that didn't hit any blood vessels, bones or nerves may slow someone down for a week or 2 with pain lasting at least a month. 1 gram of Ancef IV would take care of immediate infection, then penicillin for 7 days. Otherwise clean the skin around the entry and exit wound and change the dressing daily until the wound closes.

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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