Caring for Caregivers Was Key After Marathon Bombing

Events like the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing can have a tremendous emotional impact on any care provider—physicians, nurses, imaging techs, registration and administrative personnel, transporters, and housekeeping staff. “The solution is not to tell people to ‘suck it up,’” insisted Ron Walls, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Many of the stories in It Takes a Team—The 2013 Boston Marathon, a new Special Report jointly published by JBJS and JOSPT, emphasize the importance of caring for the caregivers–making sure the basic physical and emotional needs of clinicians are met so they can do their jobs of caring for others.

It Takes a Team provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the level 1 trauma centers involved that day (Tufts Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Medical Center, and Mass General) ensured that their staffs had the emotional backing, resources, and systems in place so they could focus on their seriously injured patients.

Not a single bombing victim who reached a hospital alive on April 15, 2013 died, a stunning result of years of preparation and teamwork. But the lives that were given back to the survivors had changed forever—along with the lives of the clinicians who cared for them. Everyone directly exposed to the Marathon trauma will have emotional ups and downs, and those who seemed unaffected early on may develop problems later. So caring for the caregivers will be an ongoing obligation.

It Takes a Team—The 2013 Boston Marathon: Preparing for and Recovering From a Mass-Casualty Event is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Readiness—Fortune Favors Prepared Teams

Part 2: Response and Recovery—April 15 Through December 31

Part 3: The Road Ahead—A Long Haul for Each and All

Download a PDF of the full report.

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