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One of the many praises for Nolan's Batman world is how grounded and realistic it is. But then we have Harvey's condition after he becomes Two-Face.

The explosion leaves half of his face with exposed muscle and bones (specifically teeth). Much of his eyeball is left exposed in its socket. Commissioner Gordon mentions that Harvey is refusing pain-killers and a skin graft.

While no specific timeline is presented between the explosion and Harvey waking up, I get the feeling that no days are skipped (feel free to correct me here). My wife's first reaction was that Harvey's wounds/face would become infected and he would die from the exposure, but it seems as though less than 24 hours pass between when he wakes up until the end of the movie

where he is killed by the fall from the building.

Ignoring how much pain he would be in, is his condition plausible as depicted? Would his face function properly and would his eye remain in place as shown?

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I am not a doctor, but I have studied anatomy and physiology, and amateur level medicine. He probably wouldn't feel much of anything. That much tissue damage surely destroyed the pain receptors in his skin. Those are usually destroyed even with a third degree burn, and his skin's totally gone on that side of his face.

As to the eye, it would probably stay in place as well. The musculature should remain intact, since it is mostly behind the eye, and that's what actually holds the eye in place. I do not think his eye would be clear like it is, however. It'd be clouded and white, or possibly bloodshot if his capillaries hadn't repaired yet. He'd almost definitely be blind in that eye, as well. No way his eyelids could burn off and his cornea not be destroyed. He might look around with it out of muscle memory, but he'd see virtually nothing.

Regarding possible infection, during his stay in the hospital, he'd likely be fine, regardless of the length of his stay. The staff would keep the wound clean and sterilized, which would stave off infection. As to after the hospital, he'd have about 48 hours before infection would set in, and a day or so after that before any noticeable signs would appear. So depending on the time scale, yes, he could go gallivanting around murdering people, but not for very long.

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I am not a doctor. However, fluid loss (not necessarily blood) from losing that much skin, while painless, would be incapacitating and could kill within mere hours without ICU treatment.

Pathophysiology of burns

Note: Unless you want to see disturbing imagery, be careful how you conduct Google searches for fourth degree burns.

We'd need a burn specialist physician or surgeon to answer the specifics for this, but the general outline is as you imagine.

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Burn infection is doubly bad.... –  Gabe Willard Dec 1 '12 at 7:43
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