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June 19, 2013

The Boston Marathon Response: Why Did It Work So Well?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2013;309(23):2441-2442. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5965

On Monday, April 15, 2013, Boston emergency medical services and other agencies transported scores of casualties to local hospitals within 90 minutes of the 2 explosions at 2:50 PM near the Boylston Street finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Brigham and Women's Hospital received 39 casualties overall, 31 on Monday, and 23 of these in the first hour. Many of these patients had severe injuries, including penetrating head and neck injuries and exsanguinating orthopedic blast injuries. Other trauma centers in the area received similar patients in similar numbers. Overall, only 3 people were killed by these explosive devices, and all 3 died before reaching the hospital. Not one patient who arrived at a hospital subsequently died. How did this happen?