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Traumatic blood loss in the medieval ages

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by SaltyDog, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    So I have a character who experiences traumatic blood loss due to a wound during a fight. The bleeding is stopped, though the guy has loss a lot of blood.

    This is in a medieval theme, with a little more advanced medicine then the the late 14th century. Now it is fantasy, and so they aren't butchering people by false cures. These doctors, or healers as I call them, know what they are doing and are very skilled in their craft.

    Present day we deal with traumatic blood loss with fluid resuscitation, or blood transfusion. (Just a few. I'm not a doctor and these are ones I can name off the top of my head.) But how did they deal with it in the medieval ages? Do they say your screwed and let you die, or did they have a cure or procedure that saved the patient from the inevitable?

    If anyone can just say you need to visit this website, all your answers are within, that would be great. I've just had trouble trying to find out how, and google keeps on giving me bloodletting. (I want to keep the blood inside the body google, I'm trying to save the man!)

    So how can I keep the guy from dying? I'll take options and opinions, and I'm open for ideas. If you need any more info, just tell me and I'll try my best answer.

    Thanks
    Salty
     
  2. I had a similar problem not too long ago. I wasn't able to find a definitive solution to it. I'd think that the best they could do is close up the wound (maybe cauterize) and hope for the best. The guy would need a long time to recover and regain strength, but if the blood loss was survivable, he'd live; if not, he'd die. Fluid resuscitation would probably be impossible due to the delicate balance of solutes they'd need in the fluid (just remembering a conversation from my biology class, don't quote me on this). I think blood transfusions were actually attempted earlier than we'd think, but the patient often died due to not knowing about blood types.

    Again, i probably shouldn't be answering since i'm not exactly skilled on the subject. Some reverse leeches would be great.

    You can lose 30% of your blood and live. After that you'd need a transfusion or you'd die.
     
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  3. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Thanks. Yeah, that seems to be the best solution, hope that he can pull through. And with blood transfusions, I would say no to it, since he is of a race where he has no others of his kind available. Lol another one character all by himself.

    And so thanks for your feed back. In the story, it wouldn't be affected too much if he dies. He just needs to live for a few minutes to relay some information. In fact, he may end up dying, as I see my choices are few and far.

    One bonus of being a god of a world, right?

    Anyway I'll see if anyone else responds before i decide the fate of the character.
     
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think you're in a bit of a push-pull situation here. If your healers know what they're doing, then they know what they're doing. They may not be able to do anything about it, but they should understand replacing blood is a good thing, and that not doing something barbaric is too. How they would or could go about that, well it's your world. You can choose what sort of tech they have.

    The reason I'm saying this is because, if you try to use obsolete systems of medicine, you're going to be using a system that's inccorect and having people do things that may be silly. I believe, and somebody correct me if I'm way off base, in medieval times they believed in humorism, that the body was composed of four basic substances. One of which was blood. Humorism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And from my rudimentary understanding, the imbalance of the amount of each substance resulted in illness. So one possible, solution to massive blood loss would to be to try and balance things. And there are two ways to do that, replace the loss blood or drain away the other three substances so they're all balanced. So if they can't replace the blood, it's drain everything else, which like blood letting, can be a bad thing or fatal.
     
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  5. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I believe your write with the humorism. And thanks for the feedback. Now I have to decide the Characters fate.
     
  6. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Perhaps feeding the character a salty beef broth... Made with marrow might help. This on top of cauterizing the wound might help speed recovery of bodily fluids and the generation of new blood from the saline and iron rich beef.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Thanks Saigonnus, I've considered that, and I might use it as an option. That could give him enough strength to survive and restock his blood.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  8. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Blood loss is tricky. You lose too much you die, and there were no transfusions back then. Treatment back then would have been two things - first stopping the bleeding - tournequets etc and later if the wound kept bleeding or looked like becoming infected -cauterization. Second replacing fluids. Broths and soups would be ideal for this though you might also want to examine herbalism and various teas.

    But you have one advantage - no one ever knows how much blood someone's actually lost until they are lying on the ground in a lake of their own blood. A little blood goes a long way and some wounds look far worse than they are because of it. The one thing I would stay away from is blood spurting. If it does that you've cut an artery and you can die very quickly from that.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  9. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I believe I'm going to go down the route with replacing the fluids, that can be done, and your write, I don't specify how much blood has been lost, only that the character had been hurt, blood a lot, went into shock and had the blooding stopped. I thankfully did not have the wound sever an artery, or I'm pretty sure due to the replies he would of died.

    I will most likely do nothing with cauterization, as the wound is no longer leaking blood. I've had some people suggest a plant that used in a soup or just eaten raw that magically heals the character, but I don't favor it, as it seems just like the author doing a "Cheat" basically to keep a favorite character alive and kicking.

    Thanks Greg, I appreciate your valid feedback.
     
  10. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    From what I've read, cauterization still leaves the possibility of infection. Not the magic fix that movies show it as being.
     
  11. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Correct with the movies. I'm pretty sure there will be no cauterization, at least, since I have the bleeding stopped.
     
  12. Holoman

    Holoman Troubadour

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    If you wanted to do something a bit different, if the guy is unconscious and cant swallow for a while, you can rehydrate by pumping water into the anus. I think that was done before IVs were a thing.

    Also things like alcohol and drugs like opium were commonly used and thought to help, at least with the pain and discomfort.
     
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  13. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I haven't thought of that, so thanks. I have however used drugs as painkillers, so we are good in that factor.
     
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