'Like a war zone': The Boston Marathon bombings

Providers scramble to stabilize wounded

April 15, 2013

This story is in progress. Last updated on April 16 at 11:35 a.m. ET

Two bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon killed at least three people and wounded more than 140 others, with emergency medical personnel and local hospitals scrambling to stabilize dozens of injured spectators and competitors.

The first bomb was triggered around 2:50 p.m.—roughly four hours after the race's start and with thousands of runners still on the course—in Boston's Marathon Sports running store, which is located just shy of the marathon's finish line. A second bomb exploded about 12 seconds later and several hundred feet away.

The race was finally halted around 3:30 p.m.

Local hospitals receive the wounded

As of 6 p.m. on Monday, victims of the bombing had been triaged to at least eight local hospitals, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, and Carney Hospital. Other patients continued to trickle in across the evening, with WBUR's Martha Bebinger on Tuesday counting more than 180 patients at 13 hosptals. 

Timeline of explosions and hospitals receiving patients. Click to expand.

Boston hospitals respond to Marathon bombings

At least 25 of these patients were reported to be critically injured; an eight-year-old boy is among the dead.

Many patients suffered lower leg injuries and shrapnel wounds, the Associated Press reports, with others being treated for less-acute injuries like ruptured eardrums.

An ED physician at Mass General reported that four victims underwent leg amputations; at least some of those victims were runners in the race. A list of injured victims at Boston Children's included several pediatric patients who had suffered head injuries and leg trauma. 

"This is something I've never seen in my 25 years here," according to Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services at Mass General. "This amount of carnage in the civilian population ... this is what we expect from war."

Boston police also deployed SWAT teams in tight perimeters around the hospitals treating victims of the bombings (photo), which an official described as standard practice. There were reports that police were questioning at least one "person of interest" who was injured in the explosions and being treated at Brigham and Women's, but in a press conference around 9 p.m., Boston police commissioner Ed Davis stressed that no suspects had been taken into custody.

Grisly scene at site of explosions

Meanwhile, a trauma nurse told ABC News that emergency personnel were using a medical tent set up for the marathon as a temporary morgue.

Dr. Sushrut Jangi, who minutes before had been attending to dehydrated runners, wrote in the Boston Globe that one bombing victim "was wheeled in on a stretcher with legs missing at the end of her torso; another had severe burns on the left lower leg." A fellow doctor treating injured victims on site said the scene looked like "a war zone."

"These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now," Roupen Bastajian—an ex-Marine who completed the race several minutes before the bombings—told the New York Times. "It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere," he added, telling the Times that he personally tied at least five tourniquets on injured victims' legs.

In the wake of the explosions, some runners who were finishing the race reportedly continued running to Mass General in order to donate blood. The Red Cross also has sent additional blood products to Boston-area hospitals.

-- Dan Diamond

Sources: James/Lupkin, ABCNews.com, 4/15; Curry, ABCNews.com, 4/15; "Live Blog," Boston.com, 4/15; CNN, 4/15; Gadsby, Metro.us, 4/15; Lee/Associated Press, Modern Healthcare, 4/15; Rohan, New York Times, 4/15; Abel et al., Boston Globe, 4/15.

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