Ask Your Questions

We love to answer questions from writers! Send us yours, but first, please note:

Please do not ask questions about caring for your personal illness or injury, or questions intended for use to diagnose, treat, or advise real people with real problems. All medical, veterinary, and legal advise is expressly for the purposes of fiction writing only.

To err is still human and there are often conflicting, out-dated, and highly jargonized sources out there. We do our very best to make sure the information presented here is timely, accurate, and factual, but please do your due diligence to fact check anything that is pivotal to your story. Ask us where to start, if you need a boost.

There is infinite variation to the human body and to the human experience, so as a writer keep in mind that you have a little leeway to play with most things. Medical and psychological information presented is often based on the “average” experience – and your (or your character’s) personal experience with a disease, injury, etc may differ widely. Also keep in mind that fiction has to be truer than reality to be believed. There really have been people who have survived (pre-antibiotic, pre-surgical era) having poles shoved through their brains. Most readers wouldn’t buy it in fiction, though.

All questions sent are subject to editing, formatting, and posting here on the site. We remove personally identifying information and details not relevant to the general information being presented as a response. That said, if you are concerned that someone might steal your unique and special snowflake of an idea, please don’t send a question about it that includes detailed information. People take inspiration from everywhere, and raw ideas are not protected by copyright.

Still with us?

Good. You can send me your question in two ways.

1) just leave a comment here or on any related thread. (Note: you must provide a valid email address, or I will not be able to reply to your question, as questions in comments are answered via email)

2) email Arizela at

Keep in mind that responses may take time (read weeks) and this is a FREE, VOLUNTARY service we’re providing. That means Arizela and the contributors reserve the right to refuse questions on any basis.

And one last note from the creator of the site: Don’t sue me. I’m a disabled former nurse who grew up in a house with dirt floors. Not much to get anyway, and the disclaimers are quite clear. Use this service at your sole risk.

6 Responses to Ask Your Questions

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  3. Emma Grey says:

    Hi, I’m currently writing a book in which one of the characters kills himself by cutting his radial artery. I’m interested to know how long it should take for him to die, as well as the chances of him surviving. I’d really appreciate any information I can get:)

    • arizela says:

      Hi, Emma.

      It depends, which is the answer to a lot of these. A radial artery is fairly small and cutting just one would mean that the person would take quite a while to bleed out, but it also depends on where the artery is cut at and in what direction. Arteries are made of tiny, involuntary muscles so they will spasm to try to conserve blood if cut crossways. if cut up along the artery, they have less ability to do that. Without adequate help, death could occur in a matter of minutes to hours. In any case, there is a chance for survival. What the after effects will be depend on the type of cut as much as anything. There may be nerve damage to the hand, for example. This PubMed abstract has a bit more information.

  4. Enreekay Vrais says:

    Hey, hello! I just found you blog, is quite interesting, and amusing, as i’m not a doctor or anything similar. I was wondering about how to perform an amputation, specifically amputate the arm just below the elbow. Sorry if there are any grammar mistakes, thank you!

    • arizela says:

      Hi, Enreekay.

      You would need to figure out a way to control blood flow, probably by applying a tourniquet above the place where you were going to cut. then cut away the tissue, tying off any major blood vessels with sutures or using cautery to seal them as need to keep the person from bleeding out when the tourniquet is removed (don’t leave these in place for more than a few hours, or the tissue below them will die and you’ll be back in the same boat with gangrene in a day or three). And then you’d need to saw through the bones. If there is magical healing available, that would be helpful at sealing off the blood vessels. You’d want to leave enough healthy skin to fold back over the end to create a stoma (or stump, as it was referred to historically/informally) and stitch that together over the end of the remaining limb.

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