I was recently called down to the trauma bay when the pager buzzed and read: code trauma, GSW 30yof eta10. I've learned that you never know what to expect when a gun shot wound patient comes to the trauma bay. I've seen a fair share of these in all manner of seriousness.
One GSW shot herself directly in the chest (left breat area), missing her heart and lungs because the bullet hit and traced along a rib following a somewhat circular path through her body around the vital organs. She was fine....physically.
One person shot himself twice in the chest in a suicide attempt, and when that didn't work had the gusto to shoot himself in the head. Still he lived for several more days.
One woman was shot in the stomach, which is supposedly the most painful place to be shot as well as very dangerous. She lived.
A chaplain friend of mine described a story of a man with a GSW to the head. The patient's brain then expanded and parts of it were squishing out of his skull.
In the trauma bay a critical GSW patient was wheeled in. The med staff had to go in side the chest cavity from the side and massage the heart manually to keep the person alive for surgery. This patient's boyfriend was harmlessly showing her his gun on the couch when it accidently went off. (Imagine your hand around someone else's heart! Yikes.)
Once, a gun shot wound patient came in, and there was so much blood that the chaplain fainted and was then admitted as a patient herself!
Back to when I was on call. A lady got off from her third shift job early and came home that morning. Tired, she inserted the wrong house key into the door and wiggled it a bit before fumbling some more with her keys. The boy friend in the house thought someone was trying to break in so he grabbed his handy 9mm pistol and let one fly before even knowing who he was shooting at. She was turned sideways and the bullet struck her in the shoulder.
Once inside, the missle basically traced under neath the skin along her back and came to rest in a harmless place near the spine but not heading for it. I find it fascinating that bullets can often change direction, ricoche and follow along parts of our body.
Talking as she entered the bay, she told doctors all her medical history stuff and gave me a number to contact her parents (who didn't really like the boy friend to start with). Physically, she would be fine, though I can't speak for the boyfriend whose life might now be in more danger than hers. Emotionally, she was shaken up. I talked with her a few minutes doing my best to comfort her by keeping her present to the moment.
If there's one lesson to take from this story, it's when you're entering your house at an unexpected time, and behind the door there might be a love-crazed (or just crazed) gunman, you'd better be sure to use the right key.