Boston Hospitals Put to Test After Marathon Explosions

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At least eight hospitals in the Boston area treated more than 140 victims of the Boston Marathon explosions yesterday, which have left three people dead and many more critically injured.   

The scope of injuries from the explosion resembled those of a war zone, according to a Boston Globe report, startling many medical providers who are not accustomed to such trauma. The severe injuries and influx of patients left the area's hospitals mobilizing disaster plans and reinforcing emergency departments with extra staff and security. 

"For many, many people in emergency medicine who are practicing domestically and not in the military, these are once-in-a-lifetime events," Ron Walls, MD, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital said in the Boston Globe report.

Brigham and Women's treated 31 patients from the blast. They ranged in age from 16 to 62, according to the Boston Globe.

Massachusetts General Hospital cared for 29 victims, and hospital surgeons said they performed "several" amputations by yesterday evening. The Boston Globe reported that at least four of those patients lost limbs.

At least 21 victims were taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and at least seven of those individuals had life-threatening injuries. The hospital called for 100 additional physicians, nurses and other medical providers to attend to patients in the ED. The medical staff in the hospital's ED on a Monday afternoon is typically comprised of 25 people.

Richard Wolfe, MD, chief of Beth Israel Deaconess' ED, has practiced at the hospital for 14 years. He said "nothing comes close" to the scene he witnessed yesterday, according to the Boston Globe report.

Boston Medical Center treated 23 patients, and Boston Children's Hospital treated eight children, according to an Associated Press/Boston Globe report. Tufts Medical Center treated 12 victims.

Police also ordered hospitals to go into lockdown in wake of the bombings. They severely restricted access, and anyone who entered was required to undergo a pat-down. At Boston Medical Center, officers from the SWAT team provided security inside and outside of the facility.

Massachusetts General faced a wave of people eager to donate blood, as some marathon runners finished the race and continued to the hospital campus to help. The hospital told people it was too busy to take blood at the time, according to the AP/Boston Globe report, and the Red Cross for Eastern Massachusetts also sent out tweets that it did not need blood at the time "due to the generosity" of donors.

Some hospital staff members attended to victims in the streets of Boston. Natalie Stavas, MD, a pediatric resident from Boston Children's Hospital, was nearly finished with the race when the bombs went off. She administered CPR to victims and applied tourniquets to limbs before ambulances arrived, according to a New York Times report.

More Articles on Hospitals in Boston:

Brigham and Women's Hospital Publishes Medical Errors to Drive Improvement
Massachusetts General Launches Telehealth Pilot Program With American Well
Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Health May Partner


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