I'm writing a detective-fiction novel and I need your help in the following scenario:

Someone was shot in the leg during a festival. The bullet didn't pierce any artery. How is he or she treated a second after the incident in this case?

  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because this question belongs on medicalsciences.stackexchange.com.
    – user2169
    May 12, 2021 at 12:45
  • 1
    I think wilderness first aid is on topic here. Imagine a hunting accident. What would the companions do while waiting for help to arrive? May 12, 2021 at 13:27
  • 3
    From a first aid point of view, it's the same as any other puncture wound that isn't gushing blood from an artery (though even that wouldn't be very different): get a dressing on there, and press on it, call for an ambulance. A festival will have medical support on site and be within reasonable reach of a hospital. If it was a backwoods/hunting-related question, it might be on topic here, but as it stands, not really
    – Chris H
    May 12, 2021 at 13:28
  • 2
    @KateGregory we were typing at the same time; I agree that a hunting incident would be on topic, but don't think this is. For one thing in a backwoods situation you may have the question of whether to evacuate the casualty or go for help (if you can't simply call for help) and you're likely to have to support the casualty for far longer
    – Chris H
    May 12, 2021 at 13:30
  • @ChrisH I don't think the location matters--he's asking about what to do immediately and that's the same no matter where you are. Assess for major bleeding, address if needed (it's not needed in this case but at t + 1 sec you don't have that answer yet), then try to call it in. Only past that point does it make any difference if EMS is 10 seconds or 10 hours out. (And, yes, they could be 10 hours out--backcountry and weather that a chopper can't fly in.) May 14, 2021 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


An untrained bystander would probably cover the wound with something just so they would not have to continue looking at it, comfort the victim, and call for help. Ironically, this is the right move for an untrained bystander.

Someone with first aid training would basically do the same as above, but might think to put pressure on the wound covering and treat for shock by having the victim lie down and keep still, with feet/legs elevated.

Someone with basic trauma medicine training (EMT) would do all of the above but also look for (and treat) exit wound(s), check for distal circulation (capillary refill/distal pulse), check neuro signs ("what day is it today, who is the Prime Minister", "can you feel it when I touch your foot", "can you wriggle your toes"), take and record vital signs (blood pressure/pulse, breath rate and quality, skin tone and appearance).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.