On April 15, 2013, many physicians, nurses, surgeons and other employees at Tufts Medical Center were faced with an unexpected and unmatched tragedy in the City of Boston. All responded quickly, skillfully and compassionately to aid those in need. Here are just a few examples of employee stories of people who went above and beyond the call of duty in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing:
Julie Compton, RN, BSN, Clinical Nursing Director, Emergency Department
When she first heard the news, Compton did more than assemble trauma teams and relocate existing Emergency Department (ED) patients. She huddled together with her staff and gave them one more important assignment: call your families. “I wanted them to tell their families they were safe and ensure their families were safe too,” said Compton. “They needed to be in the right mindset.” Throughout the day, she brought her staff together to supply updates on what was going on both inside and outside the Medical Center. She was inspired by the abundance of staff eager to help in the ED, and the remarkable calm of victims who felt safe there; it reminded her and her staff “why they work in the ED.”
Caroline Jouhourian, MD, Internal Medicine Resident
That Monday was supposed to be Jouhourian’s day off from working in the ED. As a runner herself, she decided to spend Marathon Monday watching the race. The first bomb went off where Jouhourian had been standing less than two hours before. When the second bomb exploded, police urged her to flee the scene. However, Jouhourian felt an instinctive need to help the injured runners and spectators who were being rushed to the hospital. She hurried back to Tufts Medical Center and immediately began helping incoming patients. “It was therapeutic being in the ED,” she said. “I couldn’t sit back and not help.” Jouhourian noted that watching people work together on that day reminded her why she decided to become a doctor and chose to work at Tufts MC.
Jennifer Hoffman, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon
Hoffman and the orthopedic surgery team had a busy day due to the number of serious lower-leg trauma injuries that resulted from the marathon bombings. “The injuries aren’t much different than typical orthopedic injuries,” said Hoffman. “It is the psychological effects of the bombing that set them apart.” Hoffman personally operated on four of the victims at Tufts MC. Even though there were five orthopedic surgeons in separate operating rooms, with different patients, with different injuries, Hoffman said they still managed to work as a team and help each other out. She said that the OR staff and ED staff worked together almost seamlessly to have the first patient in the operating room within 20 minutes of their arrival.
Emi Larsen, RN, Pediatric Float Pool Nurse
Larsen was one of four pediatric nurses who volunteered to help dehydrated and fatigued runners at the finish line medical tent. She worked alongside Pediatric Float Pool Nurse Kristin Bixler, RN and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurses Leslie Adams, RN and Nicole Farley, RN. After the bombs exploded, these nurses were instrumental in assisting with the influx of seriously injured patients in an already busy medical tent. They comforted victims, prepared beds, evaluated injuries, relocated less critical patients and charted as much as they could, given the chaotic scene. “The incredible teamwork between the nearly 100 nurses and physicians throughout the event was truly amazing,” said Larsen. “We were told the medical tent moved 97 patients off the street from the bombing sites to area hospitals in 20 minutes.”
Rob Osgood, Emergency Management Officer
Preparing for emergencies is in his job description; however, Osgood was impressed by the way the rest of the hospital’s staff and employees came together in the wake of this stressful and tragic incident. “There are so many dedicated members of the Tufts Medical Center community,” said Osgood. “People don’t forget why they work here.” Osgood said he had the privilege of seeing how well his colleagues functioned under times of stress and that it showed the strong community, excellent customer service, and overall dedication to patient safety of the Medical Center’s employees. He noted that in speaking with patients and their families, they all said the same thing: “The staff here at Tufts MC made them feel like part of the family.”
Reuven Rabinovici, MD, Chief of Trauma Surgery
Rabinovici supervised the care of the bombing victims in the Emergency Department (ED) that day. His initial priorities were to immediately mobilize all available resources and assign beds and surgical teams to the incoming patients. When the patients arrived, Rabinovici oversaw their initial evaluation and treatment by order of priority. Meanwhile, other staff members prepared the Operating Rooms and Intensive Care Units for the surgical teams. Rabinovici had seen this type of mass casualty incident before in Israel and lower scale mass casualty incidents (MCI), such as T collisions, in Boston. “The severity of injures from this bombing incident were far more significant than seen in previous MCI incidents in Boston,” said Rabinovici. “But everyone in the ED worked well under pressure and did the job they were trained to do.”
Joan Smith, LICSW and Anna Lisa Van Kirk, Clinical Social Workers
Social Work Services worked tirelessly to help victims both directly and indirectly affected by the marathon bombings. On the day of the attack, they reconnected families, provided transportation and accommodations for displaced persons, and offered reassurance to patients who were hurried into surgery. “By the end of the night, everyone had someone,” said Smith. “Everyone at the hospital had family that knew they were there.” The team also fielded phone calls from those who just needed a “familiar voice” in the wake of this tragic event. “Patients see this institution as a safe place,” added Smith. The Social Work Services team was able to provide relief to many patients and families under significant time and situational constraints.