This marked yet another year that we worked as physicians in the Boston Medical Center emergency department during Marathon Monday. Usually the patients we care for on this day are dehydrated or suffer ankle sprains or other minor ailments that are testimony to their successes in competition. One hour after the bombs went off, the halls of our emergency department looked like a wartime hospital.
While emergency medical professionals train to take care of the sick and injured on a routine basis, there was nothing routine about April 15. The atmosphere, however, was one of competent professionalism, where excellent medical care was delivered along with deep compassion. Everyone volunteered to do whatever was needed, from wheeling patients to the CT scanner to simply holding a hand. The efforts started with bystanders, marathon staff, and EMTs, all of whom worked together to rapidly deliver care to those in need. The behavior was something Boston can take pride in.
Since the incident, we pray for the recovery of our patients. Treating a dad with life-threatening injuries more worried about his missing child or giving news over the telephone to a patient’s father that his loved one lost both her feet leaves us emotionally raw. While a single difficult case any other day might steal a small piece of strength from our spirit, Marathon Monday this year managed to touch our souls in a different way.
We write this to remind ourselves and our community not to lose hope in the kindness and morality of the people who sit next to us on the T, are behind us in line at the grocery store, or walk by us on the street. We are the people of a city who are there for each other on the worst of days.