Writing Traumatic Injuries References
So, pretty frequently writers screw up when they write about injuries. People are clonked over the head, pass out for hours, and wake up with just a headache… Eragon breaks his wrist and it’s just fine within days… Wounds heal with nary a scar, ever…
I’m aiming to fix that.
Here are over 100 links covering just about every facet of traumatic injuries (physical, psychological, long-term), focusing mainly on burns, concussions, fractures, and lacerations. Now you can beat up your characters properly!
PubMed: The source for biomedical literature
General overview: Includes degrees
Burn severity: Including how to estimate body area affected
Incisions and Lacerations
Essentials of skin laceration repair (including stitching techniques)
When to stitch (Journal article—Doctors apparently usually go by experience on this)
More about when to stitch (Simple guide for moms)
Incision vs. laceration: Most of the time (including in medical literature) they’re used synonymously, but eh.
Types of lacerations: Page has links to some particularly graphic images—beware!
Puncture wounds: Including a bit about what sort of wounds are most likely to become infected
Wound assessment: A huge amount of information, including what the color of the flesh indicates, different kinds of things that ooze from a wound, and so much more.
Tourniquet use: Controversy around it, latest research
Location pain chart: Originally intended for tattoo pain, but pretty accurate for cuts
General note: Deeper=more serious. Elevate wounded limb so that gravity draws blood towards heart. Scalp wounds also bleed a lot but tend to be superficial. If it’s dirty, risk infection. If it hits the digestive system and you don’t die immediately, infection’ll probably kill you. Don’t forget the possibility of tetanus! If a wound is positioned such that movement would cause the wound to gape open (i.e. horizontally across the knee) it’s harder to keep it closed and may take longer for it to heal.
Setting a broken bone when no doctor is available
General notes: If it’s a compound fracture (bone poking through) good luck fixing it on your own. If the bone is in multiple pieces, surgery is necessary to fix it—probably can’t reduce (“set”) it from the outside. Older people heal more slowly. It’s possible for bones to “heal” crooked and cause long-term problems and joint pain. Consider damage to nearby nerves, muscle, and blood vessels.
Mild Brain Injuries: The next step up from most severe type of concussion, Grade 3
Second impact syndrome: When a second blow delivered before recovering from the initial concussion has catastrophic effects. Apparently rare.
Symptoms: Scroll about halfway down the page for the most severe symptoms
General notes: If you pass out, even for a few seconds, it’s serious. If you have multiple concussions over a lifetime, they will be progressively more serious. Symptoms can linger for a long time.
Snake bites: No, you don’t suck the venom out or apply tourniquettes
When frostbite sets in: A handy chart for how long your characters have outside at various temperatures and wind speeds before they get frostbitten
Poisons: Why inducing vomiting is a bad idea
Dislocations: Symptoms 1, 2; treatment. General notes: Repeated dislocations of same joint may lead to permanent tissue damage and may cause or be symptomatic of weakened ligaments. Docs recommend against trying to reduce (put back) dislocated joint on your own, though information about how to do it is easily found online.
Current CPR practices: We don’t do mouth-to-mouth anymore.
The DSM IV, for all your mental illness needs.
Human response to electrical shock: Includes handy-dandy voltage chart
Acquired savant syndrome: Brain injuries (including a lightning strike) triggering development of amazing artistic and other abilities
Please don’t repost! You can find the original document (also created by me) here.