Medical dispatches from the Boston #Marathon bombings

4/21 Check my Storify for updates on medical news.

Friday, Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Tsarnaev apartment.
Friday, Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Tsarnaev apartment.

4/21: More on the debate over whether docs might give pause when asked to treat bombing suspects. In this story. The doc in this  AP story addresses that: 

“Dr. David Schoenfeld said 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unconscious and had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday that it isn’t clear which ones killed him, and a medical examiner will have to determine the cause of death… “How did the medical team react to treating the bombing suspect?
‘‘There was some discussion in the emergency room about who it was. That discussion ended pretty quickly,’’ Schoenfeld said. ‘‘It really doesn’t matter who the person is. We’re going to treat them as best we can.’’




Boston hospitals in lockdown as police seek surviving bombing suspect.

Suspect captured, Atul Gawande finds himself in a Twitter debate on the ethics of surgical care and suspected criminals.

HMS flag at half mast


The Obama’s visited staff and patients at Boston hospitals after the morning prayer service. He to MGH, She to BWH.

Lots of reporting today on what the people who lost limbs can can except during recover.

From Commonhealth:

“I’ll make the following claim: If a person has lost a leg in this Boston attack — if they’re motivated and generally healthy and reasonably athletic — they could, given current technology, they could walk or run across the finish line at the Boston Marathon this time next year.”

Making that bold statement is Hugh Herr, the renowned prosthetics and assistive technology expert who heads the Biomechatronics research group at MIT’s Media Lab (and is himself a double amputee).

From the Globe

Three days after the bombings, people who lost limbs may differ in their emotional responses, but all are beginning a daunting journey that will force them to relearn many of the most basic activities of daily life. The challenges ahead range from brushing their teeth standing on one leg to pulling pants over their new prosthesis, specialists and amputees say.

Check the Globe’s live blog for the latest news. Also see WBUR, the BU News Service,  The Daily Free Press and NECN.


Check my Storify for updates on medical news.



4/17; The Globe staff members — including the health and science reporters — are doing an amazing job on this story. Today they offer a detailed graphic of how the medical tent became a trauma unit.

70 intense minutes: Around 3 p.m. medical staff in the 13,000-square-foot tent, already packed with runners suffering from dehydration and hypothermia, made a smooth transition to also treat bomb victims. A well-oiled machine from years of experience, the team worked tirelessly over the next critical 70 minutes.

April 16

Update from Boston Children’s Hospital

Update regarding explosion at the Boston Marathon
April 16, 2013

Boston Children’s Hospital received 10 patients injured in the explosion at the Boston Marathon on the afternoon of April 15, 2013. Our Trauma Activation Protocol was activated at 4 p.m. and deactivated at 9 p.m. All clinical and operational activities are occurring as scheduled today, Tuesday, April 16.

As of this morning at 9 a.m.,  seven patients have been discharged and three remain in the hospital.  Two are in critical condition in the Medical/Surgical ICU and one is on a surgical unit.

Details on the current patients:

  • 2-year-old boy with a head injury is in good condition
  • 10-year-old boy with multiple leg injuries is in critical condition.
  • 9-year-old girl with a leg injury is in critical condition.

The seven patients discharged were the following:

  • 14-year-old  boy with head injury
  • 42-year-old father of a patient
  • 7-year-old boy with a minor leg injury
  • 12-year old with a femur fracture
  • A child in good condition
  • A child in good condition
  • A pregnant woman who was transferred to BWH


This from the Globe:

Comm Ave.,  7 p.m.
Comm Ave,. 7 p.m.

Marathon medical tent ‘transformed into trauma unit’

My friend and colleague, Dr. Jennifer Rosenberg, a family physician in Coolidge Corner, was attending to her patient when we heard two explosions – the second a few moments after the first. The medical tent was already packed with runners lying on cots for dehydration or hypothermia. We heard a calm voice from the center of the tent, belonging to John Andersen, one of our medical coordinators. “Stay calm, and stay with your patients,” he said, “while we figure out what’s happening.”

A few minutes later, physicians, nurses, and coordinators were called to the site of the explosion; EMS ran to the scene and returned with stories about dismembered limbs and pools of blood. Immediately, the medical tent was transformed into a trauma unit.

The story gets very graphic after this excerpt.

Also from the Globe:

Physician leaders talk of day of trauma, shrapnel, and surgery

Brigham and Women’s treating victims, in lockdown

Mass General Hospital updates on care for bombing victims:

Monday 4/15, 8:20 p.m.
The MGH has seen 29 patients related to the Boston Marathon explosion today. Eight of the 29 are in critical condition.

Monday 4/15, 7:20 p.m.
At this time, the MGH can confirm we are treating 22 patients related to the Boston Marathon explosion. Eight of those patients are in critical condition. We can also confirm none of the 22 patients are pediatric (18 and younger). The injuries range from cuts and bruises to amputations. 

Please continue to monitor this page for additional updates.


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