"Under the Medical Tent at the Boston Marathon"

That is the title of an essay by Sushrut Jangi, in the New England Journal of Medicine:

Suddenly, there was a loud, sickening blast. My ears were ringing, and then — a long pause. Everyone in the tent stopped and looked up. A dehydrated woman grabbed my wrist. “What was that?” she cried. “Don’t leave.” I didn’t move. John Andersen, a medical coordinator, took the microphone. “Everybody stay with your patients,” he said, “and stay calm.” Then we smelled smoke — a dense stench of sulfur — and heard a second explosion, farther off but no less frightening. Despite the patient’s plea, I walked out the back of the tent and saw a crowd running from a cloud of smoke billowing around the finish line. “There are bombs,” a woman whispered. My hands began to shake. …

At the tent, I stood in a crowd of doctors, awaiting victims, feeling choked by the smoke drifting along Boylston. Through the haze, the stretchers arrived; when I saw the first of the wounded, I was overwhelmed with nausea. An injured woman — I couldn’t tell whether she was conscious — lay on the stretcher, her legs entirely blown off. Blood poured out of the arteries of her torso; I saw shredded arteries, veins, ragged tissue and muscle. Nothing had prepared me for the raw physicality of such unnatural violence. During residency I had seen misery, but until that moment I hadn’t understood how deeply a human being could suffer; I’d always been shielded from the severe anguish that is all too common in many parts of the world. …

Many of us barely laid our hands on anyone. We had no trauma surgeons or supplies of blood products; tourniquets had already been applied; CPR had already been performed. Though some patients required bandages, sutures, and dressings, many of us watched these passing victims in a kind of idle horror, with no idea how to help. When I asked Andersen what I could do, he glanced at me sadly, shook his head, and threw up his hands.


Michael P. Cimini

WOW...doctors overwhelmed and feeling helpless in the face of mass injuries. I think that may be the best indication of the madness of that horrible day.

But I take great pride in the fact that patients were tended to even before arriving in the medical tent. People can and will rise up together to thwart evildoers.

Len Jaffe

> But I take great pride in the fact that patients were tended to even before arriving in the medical tent.
> People can and will rise up together to thwart evildoers.

I absolutely love this comment.

Wade

I am thinking about doing a charity on my site http://marveldcforum.com for the boston marathon.

I appreciate your article, good work. You have intresting insight.