Doctors: All Boston bomb patients likely to live

  • Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there on April 15.

BOSTON — In a glimmer of good news after last week’s tragedy, all of the more than 180 people injured in the Boston Marathon blasts who made it to a hospital alive now seem likely to survive.

That includes several people who arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head wound and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl riddled with nails. Even a transit system police officer whose heart had stopped and was close to bleeding to death after a shootout with the suspects now appears headed for recovery.

“All I feel is joy,” said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to his hospital’s 31 blast patients. “Whoever came in alive, stayed alive.”

Three people did die in the blasts, but at the scene, before hospitals even had a chance to try to save them. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who police say was fatally shot Thursday by the suspects was pronounced dead when he arrived at Massachusetts General.

The only person to reach a hospital alive and then die was one of the suspected bombers — 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

But the remarkable, universal survival one week later of all others injured in the blasts is a testimonial to fast care at the scene, on the way to hospitals, then in emergency and operating rooms. Everyone played a part, from doctors, nurses and paramedics to strangers who took off belts to use as tourniquets and staunched bleeding with their bare hands.

As of Monday, 51 people remained hospitalized, three of them in critical condition and five listed as serious. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb; three of them lost more than one.

Two children with leg injuries remain hospitalized at Boston Children’s Hospital. A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition and 11-year-old Aaron Hern of Martinez, Calif., is in fair condition.

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