Simulation of a Leg Gushing Blood Is as Gross as You'd Expect

If you’ve watched any modern action movies, you’ve probably got a pretty good mental picture of what happens when a person hemorrhages blood. But this, my friends, is the first scientific visualization of the splatterfest. Squeamish viewers, look away.


Created by Jeff Eldredge and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, the video below presents a series of fluid dynamics-based simulations of a human leg getting hit by shrapnel. The goal here is to create a training tool that combat medics can use to learn exactly what sort of bloody gushy mess (technical term) a specific injury will result in.

I consider myself pretty desensitized to cinematic gore, but there’s something deeply disturbing about the no-frills clinical nature of this.

“We’re genuinely hopeful that our simulations will enhance the educational experience for medical trainees,” Eldredge told New Scientist. “But I’m really pleased just to get visceral reactions from my kids. That probably makes me a horrible father.”


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Why So Furious?

Ortho trauma surgeon here. The scientists may know a lot about fluid dynamics, but not a great deal about medicine. First, trauma to an artery causes the artery to clamp down, altering flow patterns. A fifty percent circumferential wound actually bleeds more than a transection because the vessels cannot spasm shut. Plus, there are other tissues (muscle and fat) taking up space and potentially allowing for a tamponade effect on low flow vessels (like veins). A traumatic blast causing an amputation (partial or full) can bleed like this, but most injuries don't bleed like this (unless you get the femoral artery, like what happened to Sean Taylor)