Briefly, my specific question is: could two gunshot wounds go unnoticed by doctors if the patient has serious burns covering 60% of their body, and is admitted unconscious and alone? Is it inevitable that the wounds would be discovered promptly while stabilizing the patient and treating his burns?

This happens in The Usual Suspects, and I'm trying to determine whether the doctors' failure to mention the gunshot wounds is evidence that the patient was never shot and only burned.

My question would cite the movie specifically, but would ask about a general scenario in which extensive burns disguise gunshot wounds, and whether and how they would be discovered. I think I would also mention the year, in case relevant practices or tech are different today.

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    Hey, welcome to medical sciences! Thank you for inquiring whether the question would be on-topic. A few comments that I didn’t want to put into my answer: (1) In patient care (and in general), almost anything could theoretically happen. (2) Your example is definitely unlikely, but how unlikely exactly is impossible to quantify. (3) It might be better to phrase your question in the sense of „What errors would have had to be committed to result in those gunshot wounds not being discovered in time“.
    – Narusan
    Apr 17, 2022 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Yes, I think it would be on-topic.

Answers could explore management of trauma patients in the pre-clinical and hospital setting and elaborate on the primary and secondary surveys and also give examples of case-reports where life-threatening injuries were overlooked at first.

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