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‘Strong Medicine’ Honors Medical Community’s Response To Marathon Bombing

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Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV Medical Reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall
Dr. Mallika Marshall is WBZ-TV News’ Medical Reporter and contributes...
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BOSTON (CBS) – When two bombs exploded on Boylston Street last year, doctors and nurses rushed into action. A new exhibit is honoring their response. Strong Medicine is a digital archive of get well cards, photographs, reflections, and other media documenting the medical community’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

Dr. Scott Podolsky, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library, is overseeing the project. “It’s a space for reflection, a space for healing,” Dr. Podolsky said.

A large part of the archive is a collection of audio interviews of medical personnel who played a role that day. Joan Ilacqua has conducted several of these interviews. “I’ve had some people in interviews say they feel guilty they didn’t do enough, other people say they felt worried and scared and shut that completely off so they could do their job,” Ilacqua said.

In his interview, Dr. Alasdair Conn, who was head of the Mass General Emergency Room, said he had never experienced anything like that before. “I had never seen that many severely injured patients all at once,” Dr. Alasdair Conn said.

Adrienne Wald, the director of nursing at UMass Boston, was overseeing 30 nursing students in the medical tent. “I told them what a terrific time they were going to have,” Wald said. “That there’s nothing like being at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Little did I know.”

And Erin McDonough, the chief of communications at the Brigham, didn’t see that her son had texted her four times, worried she was in danger. McDonough says, “The fourth one was mom, please. Please, please just come home. Please I’m scared.”

“Ten years from now or fifty years from people can look at it and think and understand what we were thinking, and feeling, and doing on an individual basis,” Ilacqua said. “Personally, I’m proud because this is what I can do in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings to help heal the city.”

CLICK HERE to view the Strong Medicine collections or to contribute an item.

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