The staff at Boston Medical Center is steeling itself for remembrances.
This month will be filled, as it should be, with events to mark the Boston Marathon bombing: tributes to resiliency and lives rebuilt, to the actions of first responders and the generosity of strangers. BMC, like other local hospitals, shares in the history and the emotion.
But another idea has been percolating in the hospital hallways, tempering the pride, dampening the celebrations. It’s hard to come to terms, as one doctor says, with the fact that, on a typical day, “there is no outpouring like this.”
This happens, without intention or ill will, whenever there’s a newsworthy disaster. A plane crash is an international event; a car crash is a private tragedy. An act of terrorism, ghastly and unexpected, overshadows the horror of day-to-day violence.
But the contrast is especially acute in a place like BMC, New England’s largest trauma center, where many patients aren’t strangers to what Dr. Andrew Ulrich, vice chair of emergency medicine, calls “intended violence.” About 1,000 patients with gunshot and stab wounds are treated in the Emergency Department every year. The day after the Marathon bombing, four people were brought to BMC with gunshot wounds.
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