Published April 16, 2013
As doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) continue to treat victims from yesterday’s bombings at the Boston marathon, many are confident that the patient outcomes will be as optimal as they can be.
“I am confident that no further lives will be lost,” Dr. George Velmahos, trauma surgeon at MGH, said in a press conference Tuesday. “Overall (it’s) an optimistic message at this point.”
Velmahos said the hospital has a total of six or seven patients who are still in critical condition. However, some of them are awake and their conditions have significantly improved since this morning.
Most of the bombing victims suffered from traumatic injuries to their lower extremities, according to trauma surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital.
So far, doctors at MGH have performed four amputations, and two more limbs are still at risk of needing removal. However, doctors remain hopeful they can save those patients’ legs.
Overall, most patients taken to MGH are conscious, and doctors estimate some can be released within the next few days. Many patients had a variety of sharp objects lodged in their bodies – including metallic fragments from pellets and nails. Some patients had up to 40 pieces of shrapnel inside of them.
Fortunately, surgeons at MGH were able to stop the patients’ bleeding as quickly as possible and replace all lost blood. However, while all the patients have been stabilized, there is still much work to be done, according to Velmahos.
Not only is MGH working to provide the best medical relief possible, they are also offering emotional support to patients and their families.
“It’s obviously an extremely sad day, and even more so for the patients and their relatives,” Velmahos said at the conference.
Doctors believe all of the patients who remain at the hospital were spectators at yesterday’s marathon, not runners. A few runners were initially seen at the hospital, but did not warrant long-term treatment.
After an explosion of this kind, doctors typically see three types of injuries. The first involves traumatic injury to the body as a direct result of the bomb. Other injuries are indirect effects that result from people being pushed or thrown at a high speed against objects and walls. Lastly, many can receive particle injury from flying objects or pieces of the bomb that have broken away.
While yesterday’s events have been incredibly shocking, trauma surgeons at MGH said they are used to seeing these types of injuries and are confident they can help patients recover as quickly as possible.
“The experience has been overwhelming; …we’re suffering emotionally for what happened to the people of Boston and many others,” Velmahos said. “At the same time, we can’t help but feel proud because the medical community at Massachusetts General responded in an amazing way.”
Overall, at least 176 people were injured in yesterday's bombings, 17 of whom were critically injured. So far, three people were killed by the bombs.