Blood, guts & glue

Story by Megan Otts
Photos by Megan Otts and Todd Paris


I am strapped to a gurney, blood dripping sluggishly from a gash above my eye. A hard plastic brace holds my head and neck immobile. Nylon straps crisscross my body, securing me to the backboard. My badly broken leg is stretched and locked in a traction splint that runs from ankle to thigh.

Megan OttsIt seems like an eternity before the paramedics haul me out of the ambulance and roll me into Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. We come to a stop in one of the trauma bays and I’m lifted — backboard and all — onto a hospital bed.

Monitors are stuck on my chest, arm and finger. My eyes are checked and my head wound treated. They have me wiggle my toes and tell them what hurts. Then the dressings covering my broken leg are pulled back and everyone gets an eyeful of the jagged, bloody femur poking through my thigh.

“Oh my God!”


“Holy cow!”

If my injuries were real, I’d probably be a bit disconcerted by their reactions.

Luckily, my wounds are mostly stage makeup, rubber and mortician’s putty, and my “doctors” are high school students participating in the Alaska Summer Research Academy’s biomedicine module.