One year after the tragic and deadly bombing, Boston hospitals are prepping for the Boston Marathon, including staffing extra workers, implementing new notification and chain-of-command procedures, and sending medical worker volunteers to the race itself, WBUR, Boston's NPR news station, reported.
Boston Medical Center will also staff its command center with four people, said Maureen McMahon, the hospital's director of emergency management. At Massachusetts General Hospital, the facility worked with staff on how to properly identify patients after large-scale emergencies to prevent mistaken identity, which happened after last year's bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line, Paul Biddinger, the hospital's medical director for emergency preparedness, told the radio station.
Emergency response, however, is only as effective as the hospital workers who execute the plan, FierceHealthcare previously reported. That wasn't an issue last year.
MGH surgeon David King, M.D., operated on bombing victims for 30 hours straight after running and completing the marathon himself. He told NBC Bay Area it's hard to believe it's the one-year anniversary already. This year, he said, he'll run the race in honor of his patients. "You can at look at anybody who got injured and they have a story to tell, and that's what this year's reflection should be about. It should be about them and their stories and their journeys," King said to NBC.
Hospitals aren't just preparing physically. Emotional support is essential, especially as healthcare workers still deal with the emotional trauma, such as nurse Mary Hanlon, who helped victims on scene after the bombs exploded, .
"I find myself more fearful," Hanlon told the Boston Globe. "I used to be fun-loving and a little naive. I've never had a car accident or a frightening time. After that happened, it made me realize there are bad people in the world. It's discouraging. I didn't want to leave the house."
When dealing with everyday demands or a life-changing incident, it's not just okay to ask for help when you need it. To be an effective caregiver, it's a responsibility. Every area hospital offers counseling to workers in order to give them an outlet and an opportunity to discuss their feelings about the bombing, according to the WBUR.
Nurses also had to care for suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, assuming a detached, unemotional demeanor with Tsarnaev, limiting conversations to medical questions and avoiding terms of endearment to deliver ethical and quality care, FierceHealthcare previously reported.