The Walking Dead and the medical science behind amputation?

I know the title of this question is really stupid... but anyway, here's the question.

On the show The Walking Dead (which is about a zombie apocalypse), a guy is handcuffed to a pipe and uses a saw to cut off his own hand to escape. My friends and I are discussing this episode and arguing about how logical this was.

One side of the argument is like this: You only need to remove your thumb joint to get out of handcuffs. Removing just the thumb will leave you (potentially, assuming no infection or complications) with four working fingers, which is better than none. Removing just the thumb will produce less blood loss because you are not severing all those wrist veins. It also produces a smaller wound and therefore less chance of infection.

The other side is arguing that: In a post-apocalyptic world with no access to medical care and medications, there would not be much difference between a wound from an amputated thumb and an amputated hand. Also, hacking off the thumb using an instrument like a saw would likely damage the nerves in rest of the hand to the point that none of the remaining fingers would be usable. The amputation would also lead to infection, which would make it necessary to amputate the rest of the fingers or the hand anyway, so you might as well save yourself the trouble and cut off the whole hand in the first place.

So, from a medical standpoint, which argument is more valid?


  • ShadowaceAzShadowaceAz Member Posts: 3,402
    When we have dead corpses walking, I am sure our medical science will by then be able to answer your question.

    However as a person experience has taught me, you would most likely pass out from the pain before you completed the self amputation and as such bleed out, so you shouldn't have much to worry about on the infection side.

    A hacksaw just doesn't have the right teeth for a quick amputation.
    Descensus in cuniculi cavum
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

  • KratosKratos Member Posts: 334
    I honestly feel he should have been able to cut through the half inch threaded rod he was cuffed to (that was rusty) faster than his wrist. I am sure I would have had to stop a couple of times to get mind over the pain and regain some nerve to finish the job.
    Part of the MAVERICKS Guild Family
  • mack22mack22 Member Posts: 1,254
    edited May 2018
  • ShadowaceAzShadowaceAz Member Posts: 3,402
    Descensus in cuniculi cavum
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

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