Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tragedy in Boston – Resilience and Solidarity Among Healthcare Providers

The bombings at the Boston Marathon are another example of senseless violence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected and their families. My wife’s brother crossed the finish line about a minute and a half before the first explosion. We are particularly grateful that he was not injured. But we know that others were not as lucky.

I was the Chief Medical Officer at Boston Medical Center on September 11, 2001. BMC is the largest trauma center in New England. On that horrible day, we stood ready to aid overflow victims from New York City….but none came. I remember reflecting that week that we were in a large brotherhood and sisterhood of care providers and even though we didn’t know many people in the New York City hospitals, we felt their pain and stress and wished that there was more that we could do to help.

Today, I feel the same solidarity with my colleagues in Boston. We at GBMC and at other hospitals in Baltimore stand united with the Boston Medical Center team and with the other Boston area hospitals.

We feel their pain and we unite in spirit to alleviate suffering and bring a ray of hope in the aftermath of a horrible event.

The news about an innocent 8-year-old boy being one of those who tragically lost his life while waiting to greet his father after he finished the race is especially devastating. As a father and a pediatrician, I am sure many parents, in addition to trying to process this senseless tragedy themselves, may also be wondering what resources are available to help them discuss this with their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a detailed tip sheet “Talking to Children About Disasters”  and Claire McCarthy, M.D., a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard Health Publications, provides some excellent suggestions in her column, "After the Boston Marathon explosions, what parents should do first." 


  1. Great resource ... thank you. I found it very difficult to explain to my 11 year old daughter why and how this could happen.

  2. John:

    My son was 5 months old on 9/11. Now he's 12 and watched the coverage of the Boston bombings yesterday. We also had a friend in our beach running club who ran the race, but fortunately finished ahead of the attack.

    I was struck by the doctors being interviewed and how they must partition their emotions in order to get the job done, but they all do it with professionalism in times like this.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the people affected. Hopefully justice and some sense of future prevention will prevail.

  3. I'm happy to hear that your brother-in-law was safe, and wonder at the randomness of violence in the midst of celebrating athletic achievement. My heart breaks for the parents of that 8-year-old little boy.

    I was working at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Manchester, CT during 9/11 and we were all on notice that we might be needed in New York or the Connecticut hospitals just outside the city. Sadly, it was quickly clear that our assistance would not be necessary. But the first responders then, like yesterday, put others ahead of their own safety. They are the heroes among us.

  4. My thoughts and prayers goes out to everyone affected by this senseless crime. We as Americans must come together and find a way to protect use from anymore horrible days like this.
    Hopefully this individual or group of people can be brought to justice.


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