U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 44-year-old member asked:

are gunshot wound infections always fatal?

4 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Tchaka Shepherd
Trauma Surgery 23 years experience
GSW: Gunshot wounds that are complicated by an infection are not uniformly fatal but certainly can at times lead to mortalities. Mortality rates and infection rates typically depend on the location of the injury. Antibiotics have been quite effective in reducing infection related complications this however will not always be the case
Dr. David Hardin
Wound care 36 years experience
Not any more: In the civil war, leg wound infections from gunshot wounds were so lethal that the best treatment was to cut the leg off. Today unless the bullet destroys a vital organ or blood vessel death from infection usually isn't a problem due to a variety of antibiotics and modern surgical techniques, but i still don't recommend getting shot!
Dr. Jeffrey Clemens
General Surgery 37 years experience
Depends: If the infection is near to the skin level and there is little or no tissue damage, could be easily treated. If the infection is deep within the body or involves injury to blood vessels or the GI tract, it is much more serious., but, no, gunshot wound infections are not always fatal.
Dr. Erik Borncamp
Wound care 25 years experience
No: Many bullets are left in place if removal would cause more damage. The body does a good job of fighting infections. New antibiotics help. It is rare to die from an infected GSW. Though other complication can arise.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
$30 per visit with
membership

Similar questions

A 49-year-old member asked:

Which type of infection follows an untreated gunshot wound?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Miller
Wound care 36 years experience
Think toilet !: If you understand that a shell is not a clean item and add the contents of the barrel and what it has traveled through and you basically have injected a dirty toilet into the tissues. These are very tricky wounds as the energy in the shot also causes damage that takes a while to show itself (days). Better to be seen by a doctor rather than risk a horrific infection and loss of function.
Dr. Otto Placik
Dr. Otto Placik commented
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Although the tremendous heat generated by the friction in barrel may kill bacteria sometimes it is the victims skin bacteria that are dragged into wound or worse can be a penetrating bowel injury
Apr 28, 2013
A 45-year-old member asked:

Could you tell me what are possible infections from a gunshot wound?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ernest Block
Trauma Surgery 35 years experience
Many possibilities: Obviously, it depends what body part is injured. For example, a bowel injury would be quite high risk for infection. The same for a wound to a joint. A bullet that only struck on soft tissue (skin) would be lower, but depends on what caliber etc.
A 47-year-old member asked:

I was wondering what are possible infections from a gunshot wound?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kathleen Mullane
Internal Medicine 32 years experience
Gunshot wound infn: That depends where gsw occurs. Through a clean area (hand/arm/leg) w/no clothing should be sterile (bullets are hot). Staph ; other skin bugs may cause infn. Shot through clothing pulls fibers ; whatever is on those fibers through ; allows those bacteria access (staph, strep, dirt bugs, gut bugs). Shot to belly can rupture bowel ; gut bacteria (e coli, klebs, enterococcus, pseudomonas, yeast..).
A 44-year-old member asked:

Can you tell me what kind of infection follows an untreated gunshot wound?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Payam Rafat
Podiatry 22 years experience
Many possibilities: Many organisms can result from a gun shot wound. You would need an culture to determine the infective organism in order to select the appropriate antibiotic.

Related questions

A 21-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
A 21-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
A 31-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
A 45-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer6 doctors weighed in
A 44-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
$30 per visit with
membership
Last updated Jul 28, 2019

People also asked

Related topics

Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
$30 per visit with
membership

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.