Have you ever wondered how the protagonist in a show or movie doesn’t die in spite of being stabbed (or shot, exploded, etc.) brutally while dramatic music plays in the background? Maybe you just figured it was artistic license (you’re probably not entirely wrong). However, there is another explanation to be found. Readers, may I introduce to you: the Dramatic Abdominal Stab Wound.
The Dramatic Abdominal Stab Wound (and its relations: the Dramatic Abdominal Gunshot Wound, the Dramatic Abdominal Shrapnel Wound, etc.) is commonly found in action films, action TV shows—basically any media where action, fighting, and brouhaha is to be found. Occasionally it can also be found in genres usually free from such violence, such as the romance drama. Such is the case with That Winter, the Wind Blows. For a romance drama, That Winter, the Wind Blows features a startling amount of Dramatic Abdominal Stab Wounds, probably occasioned by the protagonist Oh Soo’s primary occupation as a high-stakes gambler.
That Winter, the Wind Blows
That Winter, The Wind Blows (Hangeul 그 겨울, 바람이 분다) is an award-winning romantic drama. I’m not normally one for romance-based shows and don’t recall what inspired me to watch this one, but it was well done. The characters are enjoyable and the plot is interesting enough that the romance between Oh Soo and Oh Young is far from the only thing happening.
Now it would be easy to write off the repeated survival of TV show and movie characters’ survival from dramatic wounds as artistic license. In the case of injuries to vital organs—the heart, lungs, brain—this is the most likely explanation.
But in the case of the Dramatic Abdominal Stab Wound (and all of its relations: the gunshot wound, shrapnel wound, etc. as above), it is easy to make a dramatic, gory scene that is actually, realistically, not at all fatal to the victim (as long as timely treatment is delivered; this presumably happens sometime and somewhere offscreen).
Consider the following points:
1. Damage to the liver is the most common cause of death resulting from abdominal injury
2. Injury to any of the bowels (liver, stomach, intestines, etc.) is not as immediate a threat to life as is alterations in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, or mental status as a result of injury
3. Mortality as a result of injury to solid organs in the abdomen is most commonly associated with acute blood loss, which takes time to develop
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for seeking medical attention if you are injured! However from a media analysis perspective, it does show that for scenes where characters are the recipient of a Dramatic Abdominal Stab Wound (or any of its relations), they can realistically be expected to survive the scene (again, assuming timely treatment).
That being said, the injury will most likely be played up for maximum dramatic value, as occurs in That Winter, the Wind Blows. Even though I knew that the wounds inflicted were not fatal, the combination of dramatic music, dramatic acting, and dramatic stabbing prompted me to shed a few tears.
Sources for medical information:
Eckert KL. Penetrating and blunt abdominal trauma. Crit Care Nurs Q. 2005;28(1):41-59.
Ma, O. John. “Abdominal Injuries.” Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual, 8e Eds. Rita K. Cydulka, et al. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Review completed: August 26, 2019
Review posted: August 29, 2019
Images in this post are copyright 7/4 Review / Short + Sweet WTF