Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Suturing With Needles and Bugs

On the heels of our series regarding blade damage, I thought it appropriate to look at stitches. If your character has been injured by a blade, there may indeed be a suture in their future. How do you know? Well according to the Cleveland Clinic, your character needs stitches if their wound is:

* Deep enough to expose the dermis or yellow subcutaneous fatty tissue
* Gaping open so that you can't easily press the edges of the wound together with gentle pressure
* Located over a joint (There may be damaged nerves, tendons or ligaments.)
* The result of a bite
* The result of a foreign object impaling the area
* Contaminated or resulting from a rusty object
* Bleeding profusely or the bleeding does not slow with pressure
* On a cosmetically significant area
* On or near the genitalia (Did that even need to be said???)

Until your character can get to a hospital, basic first aid should be applied.
* Place a clean cloth or piece of gauze over the cut.
* Apply pressure directly to the area. 
* If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put more on top of it. Don't lift the bloodied cloth to apply more. Keep it in place and maintain pressure for a full five minutes. 
* If the cut is on the arm or leg, bleeding may be slowed by lifting the limb above the heart.

And now, how to suture... This video is great because not only does it offer links to several types of sutures, but you can clearly see the underlying tissue. That's a great story detail. Also, you can see that the needle doesn't just slip into the skin. The skin shown is thin and seems like that of an older person. Still, the needle doesn't just glide through.

But, let's say you can't get to a fancy hospital where they have suturing needles. Here's what stitching looks like with a sewing needle. My favorite part of this video is them saying that they hope their mom doesn't see it! If I ever meet this guy, I'm buying him an ICEE. He's earned it. NOTE: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! 

If you have neither hospital nor sewing kit handy, your character will still be ok. That is if they have access to carpenter, army or leaf cutting ants.

What do all of these little dears have in common? Big ole' mandibles.

According to, as far back at 3000 years ago, folks were using ants to close wounds. The ants were pinched in such a way as to hold the jaws open. The ants were then placed on the wound and the jaws released. When released, the jaws closed and would close the wound.  

If the sutures become infected, there will be some telltale signs. 

All of that can lead up to sepsis, which we will discuss in another post. Ahhhh, the anticipation!

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

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