So here is the proof: William Lawis Pace lived with bullet in his head for many years & even hit 100.

However, both in real life and movies, we often see doctors struggling to remove bullets from the human body.

My Question: Is it necessary to take bullets out of a human?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I would think that this is somewhat dependent on what part of the body it has lodged in. $\endgroup$ – L.B. Jun 2 '16 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ Of course it is. William Lawis Pace is clearly the exception (and suffered due to the wound). He was incredibly lucky to survive for so long. Also, I think the question is oversimplifying the gun-shot treatment (practical advice and academic references here). The aim is not to simply remove the bullet. $\endgroup$ – James Jun 2 '16 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ @James - it's not the bullet left in the body per se that causes the suffering; it is the damage the bullet does. If inert, it may not do further harm. In repairing the damage it has done (lacerating blood vessles, perforating bowel, etc.), the surgeon finds and removes the bullet, partly to make sure that's the end of the destructive trajectory, and partly because who wants a foreign body in their body? Please trust me when I say it's not extremely rare to have portions of bullets and shrapnel remain in the body after surgery. It depends on a number of factors, including risk of removal. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Jun 2 '16 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the OP already has proof that removing a bullet is not necessary to life. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Jun 2 '16 at 14:53

It depends on the size and the location. After both world wars plenty of people had odd bits of shrapnel wandering about inside them for years, because it would be too difficult or dangerous to get it out.

We had a dog who carried a few shotgun pellets inside her, shallowly enough for one to feel one of them under her skin. No point in subjecting the dog to the stress of an operation.

But with a bullet bullet, the size means that it would be almost certainly worth trying to get it out. Again, depending a bit on location and how much trouble it's causing. Abdominal cavity = one answer, muscle = another.


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