Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Long Road To Recovery For Boston Terror Victims

Personal Trauma


Ryan McMahon: The 33-year-old, says the NYT, “fractured her back and broke both wrists
in the panicked moments after the Boston Marathon bombings.”
Photo Credit: Katherine Taylor; The New York Times
Source: NYT

Here is a good article, by Abby Goodnough and Jess Bidgood, in The New York Times on the state of mind and the road to recovery of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15th.

 Goodnough and Bidggod write:
Thirty-one victims remained hospitalized at the city’s trauma centers on Thursday, including some who lost legs or feet. Sixteen people had limbs blown off in the blasts or amputated afterward, ranging in age from 7 to 71. But in a way, their cases are the simpler ones, said Dr. David King, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.
For some whose limbs were preserved, Dr. King said, the wounds were so littered with debris that five or six operations have been needed to decontaminate them. “The idea is to spread out the physiological stress over multiple operations,” he said.
Some of the wounded also still need surgery to repair bones, veins and nerves. Many will need physical therapy as well. About 10 patients have already arrived at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, said Timothy Sullivan, a spokesman, and that number could soon double. For many of the wounded, managing pain is a constant challenge. Dr. Alok Gupta, a trauma surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said the hospital was giving patients oral and intravenous narcotics and, where possible, regional nerve blocks using catheters.
Dr. King said that for those who lost limbs, so-called phantom pain — which feels as if it is coming from the body part that is no longer there — can be excruciating and particularly hard to treat. “You have to balance between taking the pain away,” he said, “and them being interactive and able to participate in their own rehabilitation.”
The ailments are not just physical. Some patients are upbeat, doctors said, but others are angry, anxious and depressed.
While there has been a lot of commentary and speculation of root causes, necessary to a degree to provide closure, it is now important to shift the media spotlight and offer encouragement to the victims. None of the victims of the terror attack deserve their fate; all are innocent individuals of a cruel and inhumane act. I wish them all a good and lasting recovery, and all the support, whether financial, mental or emotional.

As the NYT's article says about one of the victims, Ryan McMahon and her initial views almost two weeks ago: “I just saw everyone coming in, and that was really hard,” she said, adding that the sight of other patients arriving covered with blood and without limbs has been much more difficult to process than her own injuries. “Every once in a while, I just kind of break down and think about the whole big picture of it, just focusing on other people.”

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You can read the rest of the article at [NYT]

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