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Need help with medical terms


Billy Martin

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I need help from someone with knowledge of medical terms so I can have a Doctor give a verbal report to a Judge of his examination of the boy below. In addition to the below injuries, the boy also has hairline fracture of a rib that is months old.

 

Roger took a look at Joey’s back seeing the dark patches of blood vivid against his pale shirt. Roger looked back, his eyes wide as he nods and fell in behind us.

 

I started unbuttoning his shirt. I took my time so I wouldn’t pull on the shirt in anyway which could hurt him more. That’s when I noticed all the red welts, plus the purple and yellow bruising on his chest and stomach. I tried to be real careful pulling his shirt tail out of his pants, but I caused him to wince just by tugging on his shirt. The sharp intake of breath alerted me to just how much pain he was in.

 

When I got the shirt off his back I nearly puked. There were bleeding welts across his back like someone had taken a belt and tried to beat him to death. With just a glance, I could see not only the dark bruising, the welts and blood, but also evidence of other beatings Joey had taken. I knew for Joey, I had to get my act together or I was just going to make things worse. So I pushed breakfast back down and turned Joey back around to face me.

 

Getting up to follow, I looked back at him and saw that indeed it was one of those gowns. But my excitement over my discovery was tempered when I saw the back of his thighs. They too were scarred and bruised like much of his back and tummy. I had to swallow back the bile rising in my throat. This has been a roller coaster ride of a day so far, that’s for sure.

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I'm not sure how much help I can offer, since I am not a doctor, but I do work in healthcare. If I saw a situation like this, I would describe it as: The subject/patient is a (insert age here) year old male demonstrating bruising/ecchymosis in the chest and abdominal region, some appearing several days old, others more acute. (The size and exact location of the bruising could be inserted here if you wanted to get more specific). Patient also demonstrates evidence of recent acute lacerations along his back and posterior thighs. (The broken rib can be seen with evidence of an X-ray and will still be tender to the touch at this time. As a doctor, I would also look for emotional or behavioral symptoms of abuse if that is what the doctor believes is happening). I know this isn't terribly helpful but hopefully it can be a starting point and someone more qualified can give you better advice soon. :)

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First, when writing you need to consider your characters as well as your audience.Cassie does have some good advice, though I would keep it simple when describing wounds. Lacerations, bruises, fracture, examination... Placing a technical medical description in a story is great and wonderful for realism but remember, a judge is a judge, not another doctor. Use a few terms but remember that a judge would probably want a simple description, not one that you'd see in a detailed report. He'd probably already have a copy. Also, is this in court? Or in judge's chambers? Court would be more formal, chambers would be more informative.

 

Your readers won't all have medical knowledge. You have to make it understandable to them as well as realistic. A doctor would use 'abdomen' not tummy, even when thinking. Also, consider the type of damage whatever object was used. A typical leather belt is a few inches across. Those tend to leave wide welts and don't cut skin. A thin belt, like a woman would own, would leave thin welts and could cut the skin since the surface area of the striking object is smaller and has more force. Fists leave irregular shaped bruises, not round ones. Most kids won't hold still when beaten, so what marks are on the patient that show how they were held down? Bruises on the back of the neck or upper back would be hand shaped. If he was too hurt to need to be held down or restrained most likely he'd be huddled on his stomach or side. That would affect the placement of the wounds.

 

Consider, if he was so hurt that the cuts soaked into his shirt and it hurts badly to untuck it, how did he get it tucked in in the first place? When blood soaks into clothes it's also a dark red or brown, not a vivid red. It's only vivid when it's bleeding and still wet. Feel free to pm me if you have more questions.

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