The Role of Orthopaedists in the Boston Bombing

On April 15, 2013, on a sunny day in Boston, thousands gathered to watch the oldest marathon in the US. They were cheering family, friends and colleagues who were accomplishing a feat they had trained for all year. No one expected the next wave of events – two bombs exploded near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring more than 260. The pictures and images looked like a warzone. What followed next was also unprecedented. Orthopaedists, first responders, trauma surgeons, other medical professionals, runners, and spectators jumped in to help the bomb victims, many using tourniquets to stop the bleeding.

Many of the surgeons treating these victims had previous military training, helping 14 people who ended up with amputations and a dozen other victims whose limbs so far have been spared. According to Dr. James Ficke, chairman of the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at San Antonio Military Medical Center, “a multidisciplinary approach that involves everyone from plastic and orthopedic surgeons to therapists is important.”

According to NBC News reporters, Bill Dedman and John Schoen, from a financial perspective, the Boston Marathon bombing will cost as much as $333 million in losses to the local economy and infrastructure damage. The total cost of care for 70 hospitalized patients could exceed $9 million, according to one calculation. Read more.

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