Hey you — yes, you with the glassy eyes and your finger endlessly hovering over the "refresh" button on your Twitter feed/live blog: take a time out by reading about the heroic Boston hospital workers who, according to the New Yorker, saved every single one of the wounded patients from the Boston Marathon bombings.
Atul Gawande, writer and surgeon at Brigham & Women's, eloquently explains why Boston's hospitals were ready; simply put, "everybody spontaneously knew the dance moves,” according to Richard Wolfe, the chief of the emergency department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
What prepared us? Ten years of war have brought details of attacks like these to our towns through news, images, and the soldiers who saw and encountered them. Almost every hospital has a surgeon or nurse or medic with battlefield experience, sometimes several. Many also had trauma personnel who deployed to Haiti after the earthquake, Banda Aceh after the tsunami, and elsewhere. Disaster response has become an area of wide interest and study. Cities and towns have conducted disaster drills, including one in Boston I was involved in that played out the scenario of a dirty-bomb explosion at Logan Airport on an airliner from France. The Massachusetts General Hospital brought in Israeli physicians to help revamp their disaster-response planning. Richard Wolfe at the Beth Israel Deaconess recalled an emergency physician’s presentation of the medical response required after the Aurora, Colorado, movie-theatre shooting of seventy people last summer. From 9/11 to Newtown, we’ve all watched with not only horror but also grave attention the myriad ways in which the sociopathy of killers has combined with the technology of inflicting mass casualty.
We’ve learned, and we’ve absorbed. This is not cause for either celebration or satisfaction. That we have come to this state of existence is a great sadness. But it is our great fortune.
These heros aren't resting after all that hard work, either. From today's Boston Globe:
One Beth Israel doctor, David Schoenfeld, happens to live in Watertown. When he started hearing gunshots and sirens in his neighborhood last night, he did the obvious thing: he drove to work.
"You give the best care you can to every patient that comes to you, regardless of what may or may not be," he said at a press conference earlier this morning. "Whether it was a suspect, an innocent, a police officer, you have no idea who it is when they arrive. You give them the best care you can."
Image via AP.