By Leana Wen, for NPR
I have a recurring nightmare where I am performing CPR on a patient who turns out to be my husband.
Last Monday, my nightmare nearly came true.
It was 2:50 p.m., and the Massachusetts General Hospital ER was filled to capacity.
In the section where I was working, my patients were critically ill, with strokes, heart attacks and overwhelming infections. Even the hallways were packed with patients receiving emergency treatments.
A call over the loudspeakers announced that there had been two explosions. Many people were injured. That’s all we knew.
As we cleared the emergency room, there was a second call. These were bombings. There were fatalities and dozens, maybe hundreds, of injured. How many were coming to Mass General? Nobody knew.
Three minutes later, the doors flew open. Stretchers came, one after the other. Some victims had no pulse and weren’t breathing. Others had legs blown to shreds. All were covered with blood and soot.
The ER smelled of burnt flesh, and each stretcher left behind a fresh trail of blood. Continue reading