BOSTON (CBSNewYork) — The injuries suffered in the Boston Marathon bombings were severe and extensive, with one doctor comparing them to casualties seen in war.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Monday night, after the bombs detonated, police rushed to assist victims tangled in debris and broken glass.
Bloody spectators were carried into a medical tent that had been intended for fatigued runners. Many suffered severed limbs, and one onlooker completely lost his feet.
CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez spoke with Dr. Martin Levine, one of the doctors who treated the injured.
“People were relatively lying in heaps in some ways on top of each other, and next to each other in strange positions, and I saw shock on several faces. Those people had the worst — there were leg injuries; severed lower limbs at different levels, and we were taking our belts off; our lanyards off of our neck if we had a credential, and we were applying them onto the limbs as tourniquets,” he said.
Medical personnel quickly grabbed wheelchairs, but they were proved difficult to use for transport.
“We even began bringing boards; we were putting people on the boards and carrying them back to the medical tent; through the medical tent to the back,” he said.
Once the patients were in the medical tent, crews began triaging them and applying IVs right away, he said.
More than 100 people were taken to all of the Boston area hospitals with doctors and nurses working to save lives while trying to comprehend the tragedy themselves.
“What really surprised me was the number of people and the amount of blood; the amount of injuries,” a nurse on the scene told CBS News’ Don Dahler.
Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon Dr. Peter Fagenholz said the dominant injury was “combined complex lower extremity injuries,” involving blood vessels, bone, and soft tissue.
Many shrapnel injuries, predominantly affecting the lower extremities, were seen, he said. But the shrapnel wounds were caused not by shrapnel within the bombs, but rather by street debris, medical professionals said.
“The first patient who came in was probably the most severe,” he said. “We had three of the most critical patients come in in the first 15 minutes.”
The hospital treated 29 people, and Fagenholz, himself, had operated on six as of the 10 p.m. hour.
Massachusetts General did not treat any pediatric patients, and the oldest patient treated was 71, Fagenholz said. But an 8-year-old boy was among those killed, WBZ in Boston reported.
Other injuries included the direct concussive of the blast, including ruptured eardrums as well as the broken limbs. There were also burns from flames and lung injuries from smoke inhalations, and lacerations from debris and shrapnel, doctors said.
Several patients were also taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CBS 2’s Gomez reported.
The medical situation was expected to continue to evolve over the next hours and days, and it may be some time before the full extent of the casualties is revealed, Gomez reported.
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