Could you make a chart for the fatality of bullet wounds please?
Sure, nonny! Happy to help! Sorry this took me a while, but here you go…
[Table: “Area Shot” in one column, “Potential Lethality” in another. “Area Shot” column lists body parts: head, chest, abdomen, upper arm, upper leg, forearm, lower leg, hand, foot. “Potential Lethality” lists “potentially lethal” in all rows.]
You see why I had so many problems answering this ask, anon?
In all seriousness, I wanted to use this to prove a point. Gunshots anywhere on the body have the potential to be fatal.
I’ll give you the classic EMS paradox that’s been taught to me during training. You come up on a scene with a man unconscious on the floor. In point of fact he’s in cardiac arrest.
Of course, you start CPR and strip him down naked and check for wounds, because that’s a thing you do in EMS. But the only thing you find is a gunshot wound in the palm of his hand. Entry, no exit. Small little hole, little bit of a powder burn.
What the hell happened?
What the hell happened is, he was trying to stop himself from getting shot, reached out, and occluded the muzzle with his hand. The bullet traveled under the skin, up the outstretched arm, up into the shoulder, where it lodged in and deflated the lung, and the person died.
This is supposedly based on a real case (note: I’m too lazy to verify this), which only proves the point that real life is stranger than fiction.
But a GSW to the hand doesn’t have to have some magical properties to be potentially fatal. In addition to the ever-present threat of complications such as sepsis, there’s also the fact that the radial artery is right. there. The wrist isn’t far from the hand, and bullets and bones have strange and almost miraculous relationships when it comes to trajectory.
The same is true in the foot, only more so, because hard floor surfaces tend to generate ricochets, and the bullet could simply go through the foot, ricochet off the floor, and come up and hit, say, the dorsalis pedis artery, or an artery in the ankle, and cause a life threatening bleed.
Now, just because something is potentially lethal doesn’t mean it automatically is lethal. Once upon a time I wrote a post about survivable headshot wounds: Headshots: They’re Not Always Lethal (Yes, Really)
And just because a bullet to the hand CAN cause laceration to the radial artery (or even a pneumothorax!) doesn’t mean it will. People can get shot in the chest and live. People can get shot in the chest and die. Most leg wounds can be taken care of at home (if it’s a clean through-and-through with minimal bleeding). Some leg wounds will be fatal inside of 10 minutes (femoral artery) or will require years of rehab (femur or femoral nerve injury).
This is why I have such a hard time writing about gunhots, even though they’re HEAVILY requested (though you guys seem to have a thing for arrows and drownings lately….)
I hope this helped, but I suspect I’ve been supremely unhelpful.