GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

the adrenaline shot - any doctors out there?

POSTED BY: EST120
UPDATED: Friday, June 4, 2004 18:14
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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 6:55 AM

EST120


i was watching out of gas last night and it got me thinking about medical stuff. to any doctors out there, is it possible for a person to give themselves an adrenaline shot? how hard would it be to stick yourself with a needle like that and then inject something into your heart?


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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 7:12 AM

PHOENIXMARIE


Adrenaline shots are actually usually given in the outer thigh or in the arm. Giving some one an adrenaline shot to the heart is really only used if the persons heart has stopped, in which case the person would not be able to give it to themselves. These shots are good for increasing a person's air ways, fighting off allergic reactions and to help clot blood when bleeding is serve.

Phoenix Marie

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 7:46 AM

EST120


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixMarie:
Adrenaline shots are actually usually given in the outer thigh or in the arm. Giving some one an adrenaline shot to the heart is really only used if the persons heart has stopped, in which case the person would not be able to give it to themselves. These shots are good for increasing a person's air ways, fighting off allergic reactions and to help clot blood when bleeding is serve.

Phoenix Marie



so would you say that the way mal does it in that episode is a little inaccurate? what would it do to a person who's heart has not stopped? would it cause someone's heart to stop? i just cannot imagine sticking a needle that long into my chest and then injecting that much fluid. he would have to careful too to not hit bone or else he would never be able to actually get it all the way in.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 11:31 AM

WHEDONESQUE


Yes, it was inaccurate. As PhoenixMarie said, an adrenaline shot to the heart is rarely used and only if the person's heart has stopped. That means that a shot to the heart in this case doesn't make sense (and truthfully probably would have an adverse affect on him). It IS possible to stick a needle into someone's chest and into their heart - even a very big needle. In fact, if a person has a life-threatening build up of fluid around their heart, the treatment consists of doing just that and draining the fluid off. You are right, though. It is a delicate procedure in that the location and angle of insertion are done very precisely and the depth of insertion is critical. The heart doesn't like it when you go punching it with a big needle. You are also right about the amount of fluid he injects. A typical adrenaline shot is about one-fifth the size of the one Mal used.

Yeah, I had a hard time with that scene, too. It made me appreciate the complaints of some of the scientists or technophiles around here. It can be really destracting to see someone on the show do something that is not actually possible or logical simply for the drama of it. But as Joss has said, he is not a scientist (or a medical professional) and he's not too worried about the details. He just wants to tell a good story.

That being said, Joss accomplished his goal, though. Seeing Mal inject himself in the chest with that huge syringe was a very dramatic moment!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 11:45 AM

EST120


Quote:

Originally posted by whedonesque:
It IS possible to stick a needle into someone's chest and into their heart - even a very big needle. In fact, if a person has a life-threatening build up of fluid around their heart, the treatment consists of doing just that and draining the fluid off.



thanks for the info! my biggest question, though, is would someone be able to inject something like that (even the proper amount) into themselves?

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 12:22 PM

WHEDONESQUE


Is it possible? Yes.
Would they end up killing themselves? Probably.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 12:52 PM

STATIC


Quote:

Originally posted by est120:
[Bthanks for the info! my biggest question, though, is would someone be able to inject something like that (even the proper amount) into themselves?



TECHNICALLY. . . yes.

HOWEVER. . .as it was previously stated, to inject straight into the heart, one either has to manage to punch through the sternum, ala "Pulp Fiction" and "The Rock" or take the preferred route of coming in between the ribs at an angle to slide in BEHIND the sternum.

Could one do that? Yes.
Could someone do it if they were in the same condition Mal was in? No. Well. . .if they could, they're the biggest badass I've ever seen.

I spent some of my military career as a combat medic, and I saw adrenaline administered usually in the leg, arm, into an IV bag. . .the only time I actually saw it administered directly to the heart was when the heart had stopped and the chest was OPEN. It was during surgery.

To be honest, I think this was one of those 'creative license' things that Joss does on occasion to increase dramatic impact. . .and it did a fine job.

==================================================
"Wash. . .we got some local color happening. A grand entrance would not go amiss."

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 1:03 PM

SPLIBERTARIAN


I like to write off the whole needless-adrenaline-shot-to-the-heart thing with the idea that, yes it was unnecessary and dangerous, but Mal's not a doctor and, understandably, does not know this. Of course, in the commentary when they discuss setting up Mal's scene with Zoe's scene, I have to pretend that they meant it sets up the procedure in Mal's mind rather than the viewer's.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 2:30 PM

SLOWSMURF


The one good part when they make sciency mistakes like this on the show are usually its not a character that would know. Jayne thinking the oxygen need(though he really would've, thats just a mistake, heh) and then this. Maybe Mal thought it was the right thing to do and just got lucky as hell.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 5:51 PM

DTT


As long as Mal doesn't dance with Vincent Vega at Jackrabbit Slim's, I'm cool. As a med student and an English major, I'm good with poetic license. Heck, I have one: KY Poetic License #2460169.

"You didn't have to wound that man."
"Yeah, I know. It was just funny."

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 7:29 PM

RKLENSETH


Quote:

Originally posted by splibertarian:
I like to write off the whole needless-adrenaline-shot-to-the-heart thing with the idea that, yes it was unnecessary and dangerous, but Mal's not a doctor and, understandably, does not know this. Of course, in the commentary when they discuss setting up Mal's scene with Zoe's scene, I have to pretend that they meant it sets up the procedure in Mal's mind rather than the viewer's.




That's exactly what I was thinking. Plus, who is to say that he would die. I think what he would have been in danger of by doing that would be of going into shock because of it and in his condition it was already a high risk danger anyway. He had nothing left and so quite understandably did the last possible resource which might have saved his life, did nothing at all, or put him into shock that would have killed him. It wasn't like he was dying already. I think the adrenaline shot gave him that last burst or push of energy to get him to the engine room and get the ship running again before he his condition caught up to him. So perhaps it could have killed him or maybe almost did though I'm sure the bullet to the stomach doesn't help either but perhaps it gave him what he needed to get the ship running again.

Oh, and play Cantr II at www.cantr.net.

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Friday, June 4, 2004 3:22 PM

RUE

I have a vote and I'm not afraid to use it!


It's possible and even necessary for people to give themsleves adrenaline shots - usually in an arm or leg - if they are having a runaway and potentially fatal allergic reation. (called anaphylaxis http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic25.htm) They use a pre-loaded syringe with a needle attached called an 'epi-pen' (looks like a pen). People with a history of severe allergies carry one around at all times.

It's common for people who have 'coded' to get it directly into the heart - as previously mentioned, between the ribs at the left edge of the sternum. Someone who is near collapse would also benefit. If it was injected in the peripheral circulation, they might not have enough blood flow to actually carry it to the heart.

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Friday, June 4, 2004 4:21 PM

NIGHTTRAIN


Quote:

I like to write off the whole needless-adrenaline-shot-to-the-heart thing with the idea that, yes it was unnecessary and dangerous, but Mal's not a doctor and, understandably, does not know this. Of course, in the commentary when they discuss setting up Mal's scene with Zoe's scene, I have to pretend that they meant it sets up the procedure in Mal's mind rather than the viewer's.



I agree with this theory. Mal's no surgeon. He saw the adrenaline work on zoe so he figured he'd use it on himself. Being that some posts agree that an adrenaline shot to a beating heart would do more harm than good, then maybe he would have been able to make it to the red button if it hadn't been for the damage he had done to himself by shooting his heart with adrenaline.

"You gone got yourself lookin' mighty hideous" ~Jayne

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Friday, June 4, 2004 6:14 PM

DRAGONFLYDIRECTOR


I am in the "Mal ain't no Doc and was aping what he saw" crowd.

So how can it be a tech error when the character doesn't know well enough that he only needs to stick himself in the leg or arm?

You have to remember - The writers have to write the character's moves and thoughts ... not what is 'technically accurate", especially in this case.

About the dosage - Mal got REAL lucky. LOL, Luck is one of Mal's 'powers' - much like Indiana Jones.

As a tiny bit of proof - just remember Mal's 'luck' in te episode "Serenity" where he sees the Alliance ships landing ... bullet strikes everwhere - even nailing the trooper next to Mal - but not ONE round with Mal's name on it! There are many instances in the series of Mal's luck BARELY pulling his arse outta particulary hot situation.

Just somptin' ta think about ...


"Observe Analyze & Respond"
Motto of the A.P.E.s
Alliance Protean Engineers


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