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Boston Marathon Bombing Yields Lessons for Hospitals

Tinker Ready, for HealthLeaders Media, April 17, 2014

As researchers begin to analyze data on the injuries, surgeries, and outcomes collected on those wounded in the 2013 bombings, the medical director for emergency preparedness at one Boston hospital says he expects to "learn from this event for a lifetime."

Cheryl Clark is on vacation.


Trotter

David King, MD,
Trauma Surgeon at Mass General

A year after the two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring scores, the city is making final preparations for the 2014 marathon on Monday, April 21.

First responders and healthcare workers in particular have learned a number of lessons from the events of April 15, 2013. For example, since the bombing, Boston hospitals have changed the way they receive unidentified trauma patients in the emergency department. Members of the city's police force are now equipped with military-quality tourniquets.

More lessons, perhaps further-reaching, will come as researchers begin to analyze data on the injuries, surgeries, and outcomes for each of the more than 240 people injured.

Much has been said of the fact that the blast took place in a neighborhood literally surrounded by trauma centers. Within 22 minutes, ambulances had transported 24 victims to Beth Israel Deaconess, 29 to the Brigham and 28 to Tufts Medical Center. Boston Children's Hospital took eight.

You won't find an equivalent cluster of well-equipped hospitals anywhere on the planet, says Mass General trauma surgeon David King, MD,. The trick now is to draw lessons from how this unique, elite health delivery ecosystem performed under intense pressure.

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