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Question re: punctured lung

ReznikReznik Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm working on a piece of writing where a character suffers a punctured lung from getting stabbed. Google has supplied me with plenty of first aid info, which is great, except that it always ends with "and then get them to a hospital". For various reasons, this character can't go to a hospital. He is, however, with a group of people used to treating injuries themselves outside of a hospital environment. The story is set in the present, and the characters are probably able to acquire a decent stash of medical supplies, though not anything that isn't easily transported.

What I'm wondering is:

- Is it within the realm of possibility to fully treat this type of injury outside of a hospital? Slight exaggerations are okay, because it's fiction and these characters are badasses, but I don't want this to seem completely eye-rollingly ridiculous.

- If yes, what is the treatment after basic first aid? What supplies are needed?

- What is the recovery like? How long will it take? Will there be any lasting damage?

If these questions sound dumb it is because I don't know jack about medicine, hence all the research.

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    StruenseeStruensee Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Google pneumothorax.

    Struensee on
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    OverOver ...laser cats? Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    No medical expert, but Three Kings has a valve in Markie Mark's chest to keep it inflated after he gets shot.

    Over on
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    EllthiterenEllthiteren Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Not a doctor, first of all. Never dealt with anything like this, second of all. But here goes the theorycrafting.

    If he's bleeding into the lung, he's probably hosed without medical attention. Just counting on that bleeding to stop on its own probably isn't a great plan.
    If he's bleeding into the space around the lung (hemopneumothorax), he'd need to get the blood out of there. Think large needles. A one-way valve might work as well, to push some of the blood out and un-collapse the lung.
    If the puncture has allowed air (but not blood, or at least not a lot of blood) to enter the space around the lung, you're looking at a pneumothorax, which in theory might be more easily treatable. Slap a one way valve on there - piece of plastic over the wound, tape three sides down, leave the fourth one open. Drop in pressure pulls it shut so no more air comes in, increase in pressure pushes air out so the lung doesn't collapse (or doesn't stay collapsed). More complicated setups are possible, as referenced in the post above mine.

    Ellthiteren on
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    FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    According to the lady doctor that sleeps with me, no, it is not possible to treat this "condition" outside of a hospital. This belongs to the realm of Surgeons.

    One of the possible complications is this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subcutaneous_emphysema

    Fantasma on
    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
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