Warning: This post contains spoilers for the past two episodes of “Game of Thrones.”
“Game of Thrones” is a fantasy show that features dragons, ice zombies, and murderous smoke babies, to name a few. But the most unrealistic thing that’s ever happened on the HBO series might be Arya Stark’s quick, very active recovery from a half-dozen or more serious stab wounds over the past two episodes.
INSIDER spoke with a doctor who confirmed that Arya’s prognosis probably wouldn’t look so good — and she’d almost certainly die of a massive infection.
Dr. Jefferey Raunig is a pediatric physician with the U.S. Navy who has been trained in battlefield casualty response. He’s also a massive “Game of Thrones” fan. (Raunig’s opinion comes from his own personal experience, and does not reflect that of the U.S. Navy or federal government.)
Raunig explained to INSIDER that the most important question for Arya’s survival is whether or not the Waif’s knife punctured the peritoneum, a membrane that encloses the abdominal organs, including the bowels, kidneys, stomach, and liver, among others.
“Of the stab wounds the penetrate the viscera, about half of those actually will cause visceral damage,” he explained. “This is important because of how we witness Arya’s recovery.”
“Let’s run through chain of events: Arya was stabbed about six to ten times, with one very deep stab wound which I’m about 100 per cent positive penetrated the peritoneum. She jumped in filthy water, stumbled through the streets, bled a whole bunch, was given some soup and ‘milk of the poppy,’ and bandaged up,” Raunig wrote in an email.
“Assuming there wasn’t a trauma surgeon or skilled emergency physician visiting bedside in between scene changes, that is the extent of medical care she received. In the morning, she woke up and sprinted through the streets with apparently no effect from the injuries.”
So, could Arya really make it?
Well, in a world where you can bring people back from the dead, Raunig says anything is possible. There’s a chance that the stab wounds all missed vital organs, which would have kept her from immediately bleeding out or dying of peritonitis, an infection of the abdomen from perforated bowel.
The milk of the poppy that Lady Crane gave her would alleviate Arya’s pain, but since it’s an opiate, Raunig says “she’d be as high-as-a-kite and not jumping through the streets like Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
So there’s a chance that the stab wounds on their own wouldn’t kill Arya, even if her parkour-like escape from the Waif is unlikely. That’s not the biggest problem, however.
“What I don’t believe is feasible is her ability to avoid any infection, and not be in complete septic shock from immersing in disgusting run-off city canal water with her open wounds,” Raunig says. “Without being on a mega-dose of broad-spectrum IV antibiotics, she’s as good as dead.”
There you have it. In all likelihood, she’s probably just another addition to the Hall of Faces.
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