On April 15, 2013, Dr. David King finished running the Boston Marathon – and then rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital to operate on 15 people over the following 30 hours. The trauma surgeon’s story is just one of many others like it: doctors and nurses who heard news of the bombs at the marathon and hurried to their hospitals to treat the wounded.
MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital each treated 39 patients injured at the marathon, and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital treated 17. Across the city, paramedics, firefighters, police, doctors, nurses and countless others worked as one to make sure that every patient who arrived at a hospital survived.
Adam Barrett, RN, was in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at MGH on April 15. “It became very clear to me that day that a major part of our role in all areas of care delivery is to always expect the unexpected and to not allow those situations to rattle you,” he said. “There were many staff who were off that day who did not even call to see if we needed extra staff – they just came in.”
And, of course, the resilience of marathon patients like Gillian Reny has also played a role in inspiring our community. One year ago today, Gillian was rushed to BWH where doctors and nurses heroically saved her life. The college freshman and her family have since established The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund to support trauma care research at BWH and Spaulding, a selfless and generous act aimed at helping future patients with traumatic, athletic and disease-related limb injuries regain their strength and step strong once again.
Every hospital – and every individual – throughout the Partners HealthCare system played their parts in caring for the marathon patients in the hours, days and months that followed, but it was the coordination among them that made the crucial difference in getting patients the highest-quality care possible. Patient Marc Fucarile, treated at MGH and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, credits his entire Partners team with his recovery. “Teams win championships, not individuals,” he said.
Just days after the tragedy, Spaulding treated the highest number of traumatic amputees it had ever seen as staff there opened the new hospital in Charlestown. “Little could any of us have known how immediate and urgent the need for the rehabilitation care we provide would be,” said Spaulding President David Storto.
As BWH, MGH, BWH Faulkner and Spaulding treated patients’ physical injuries, McLean Hospital saw to the emotional trauma impacting communities in and around Boston. Specialists in anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder worked with community hospitals and organizations throughout Eastern Massachusetts to provide services and support, and the robust network of clinical providers at McLean and in Partners’ psychiatric departments enabled referrals for patients who needed them.
“While I am fully aware of the resilience of those affected by disaster, the spirit and determination displayed in those most acutely affected by this tragedy was inspiring,” said McLean’s Christine Tebaldi, RN, who worked with those affected by the bombings.
Next week, numerous teams from Partners hospitals will be running to support their patients – and to support their community.