Here's one from a blogging friend many of you know, the talented Jessica Bell! Jessica is author to several books, including Bitter like Orange Peel and String Bridge, as well as the Writing in a Nutshell series, and is an editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal.
"One of my characters shoots himself in the head to commit suicide. Is there anywhere he can point the gun and still survive? I also need him to be in a coma for 8 months, (I can make it less if need be). Is it possible he could wake up from that and still have full brain function?"
Great question, Jessica (but a sad one!) A person can definitely suffer from a GSW to the head and survive, but the odds are generally slim. The majority of GSW to the head result in death (90% or so). So for this scenario to work, there are a few details that would have to happen.
3. Complications. Since Jessica needs the patient to be in a coma for a long time, but have minimal long term damage to the brain, she may have to build in several complications to keep him sick in the neuro ICU. Any GSW will cause brain swelling, so a coma makes sense for a while if there is a lot of swelling. Add in more problems, like a brain infection, or extra fluid building into the brain that needs a drain (ventricular drain, shunt, or temporary removal of a piece of skull), or a later brain bleed that needs an extra surgery to stop the bleeding.
Below are several articles that highlight the issues that occur in head GWS, as well as info on those rare survivors. Sadly, this scenario was very much in the consciousness of Americans when Representative Gabrielle Giffords survived an assassination attempt.
What does it take to survive a bullet to the brain? By LiveScience
Surviving a gunshot wound to the head, by MedicineNet
Q&A with a neurosurgeon on the status of Gabrielle Giffords
Living Miracles: Survivors of Gunshots to the Head
Thank you Jessica for a fascinating question. Good luck on your WIP (and good luck to your character!)