Portrait of an Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon and Compassionate Caregiver

Dr. David Lhowe, orthopaedic trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, spent time in a makeshift field hospital next to what was the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks and a month on a US Navy hospital ship help­ing survivors of the Indonesia earthquake—the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history. Lhowe calls these opportunities to help “an unbelievable gift” in It Takes a TeamThe 2013 Boston Marathon: Preparing for and Recovering From a Mass-Casualty Event, a special report co-published by JBJS and JOSPT.

It Takes a Team describes how Dr. Lhowe performed surgery on Kaitlynn Cates after she sustained deep-tissue shrapnel wounds in her right calf from the Boston Marathon bombings. Cates appreciated his clear and calm explanations of the surgical plan and what would happen after. “In emergencies, it’s often hard for patients to concentrate, so I try to simplify to the best of my ability, lay out the main points of consideration or concern, and continue the conversation later,” he said.

Cates still occasionally visits Lhowe, even though she’s been discharged as a surgical patient. “I find talking to him very com­forting,” Cates said. In addition to helping her navigate clinical intricacies of her ongoing care, Lhowe simply lends a sympathetic ear. “If I have the time to talk and if talking helps her, that’s great,” he said.

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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