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Title: Ask A Spy: Performing Sutures | AO3
Fandom: Burn Notice
Medium: fic
Wordcount: 612
Rating: PG-13
Contains: no standard notes apply
Summary: One of the most important things a field agent will learn on the job is how to make a surgical suture.


One of the most important things a field agent will learn on the job is how to make a surgical suture. Spies sometimes get deep lacerations while on the job. Most often than not, either because of their location or the activity surrounding them, getting to the hospital, even with a cover ID, is not an option. Sewing a non-life threatening suture will take you out of the action for a few moments, but it's better than leaving the wound open so your partner either bleeds to death or gets an infected wound.

I like to carry around actual surgical grade needles. I prefer the circular ones because I find it easier to sew a wound with those types of needles. The more semicircular ones are fine as well, but I find that I have a delicate touch when I perform a quick suture.

As for suture threads, I prefer an absorbable suture thread. A suture thread that's made from synthetic materials works just as well as an absorbable one. But synthetic threads, unlike absorbable threads, have to be taken out of the body. If you're not good with suture thread removal, you may do more harm than good to your patient.

When threading your surgical needle, it's best to have a needle holder. It makes sewing into the flesh easier and more precise. It also makes suturing easier when your patient is threatening to kick your ass while you're sewing the wound together. You might be able to get away with not using a needle holder for larger lacerations and bigger needles. You might even get away with using an upholstery needle as a temporary surgical needle, since a larger-sized surgery needle and an upholstery needle, minus the shape of the eye, look nearly the same. But I don't condone it.

There are many ways to suture a wound. I go with the most basic of sutures: the simple interrupted stitch. It keeps the suture taut and makes sure the wound heals properly. To ensure this type of stitch doesn't unravel, you stitch the skin together, tie each knot up and make the suture thread stick away from the skin. When your patient doesn't have patience, it's best to reassure the patient that if you don't get the stitch properly done, there is a possibility that the patient could die. Usually that's enough to get the patient from resisting the suture.

Sutures aren't the best thing in the world to need, but if you're familiar with the person you're giving a suture to, it can be an intimate experience. You know how to calm the patient down in case the patient panics during the treatment. Typically treating a patient doesn't require that you're infatuated with the patient, but sometimes it helps the suture giving process going.

In time sutures heal. A person's free to put anything they want on their bodies, including a tattoo acquired from a job in India years after you've worked with your patient. But when one of your former patients gets a tattoo on a suture you successfully placed on their body, you can't help but feel bad that your handiwork is lost to something you never learned to read because your job doesn't require you to go to India and learn one of the several local languages there.

But no matter what your ex-patient puts on their body, if you have an intimate working relationship with your ex-patient, you learn to get used to the tattoos. Something as small as a tattoo shouldn't get in the way of what matters most: a valuable teammate who's happy to fight by your side as well as a friend.

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a merry ghoul

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