Battlefield Wounds Treated by Boston ER Personnel

April 16, 2013
The scenes in emergency rooms across Boston yesterday were like something from the worst times in Baghdad or Jerusalem.

April 16--The scenes in emergency rooms across Boston yesterday were like something from the worst times in Baghdad or Jerusalem, as the city's surgeons and nurses -- working with armed cops just outside -- took in 134 bomb victims, many mutilated and missing limbs. One miracle survivor is only 3 years old.

"There are legs ... that have been blown off. This is like a bomb explosion that we hear about in the news in Baghdad or Israel or some other tragic place in the world," said Dr. Alasdair K. Conn, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, where 22 patients were treated, six in critical condition and "very severely injured," Conn said.

Conn said the first arrivals were all spectators of the 117th Boston Marathon. One, he said, required an emergency blood transfusion and had to be rushed into surgery.

A spokesman for Boston Medical Center confirmed two of the 23 patients being treated there were children, and that most of the injuries doctors tended to were to the victims' lower legs. Sixteen patients remained in serious condition last night.

A frantic scene unfolded at Boston Medical Center. A line of ambulances pulled up to the ER entrance, where gurneys and wheelchairs were lined up to receive the injured, some of whom arrived wrapped in Mylar survival blankets commonly given out to runners at the finish line.

A man and woman from Stoneham who turned up at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital said they were told their two nephews each lost a leg.

"I got a call from her sister. I couldn't understand a word she was saying," said the victims' uncle.

He said his nephews, in their late 20s to early 30s, were watching the marathon with friends when one of the bombs went off.

"We just talked to the doctors. One is losing his right leg below the knee," the aunt said. "The other one (nephew) is here."

The critically injured include a Boston University student, BU reported. Beth Israel last night reported treating 21 patients.

Brigham and Women's Hospital took in 28 patients up to age 62, and including a 3-year-old girl who was later transported to Children's Hospital.

"Injuries range from minor eardrum blasts to really serious limb injuries and serious head injuries, as well," said Dr. Ron Walls, chief of emergency medicine at Brigham, where two patients were in critical condition and as many as 10 were in serious condition last night.

The hospital's emergency entrance was protected by police armed with assault weapons. Panicked families clustered outside the doors.

Tufts Medical Center treated nine patients. Hospital spokeswoman Julie Jette said five required surgery for orthopedic and neuromuscular injuries to lower legs she deemed "significant, but not life-threatening."

"Others have had shrapnel wounds, ruptured eardrums," Jette said.

Copyright 2013 - Boston Herald

Related From Firehouse Sister Web Sites

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!