Runners are always training for the next big race. For about 20,000 competitors, that big race was Monday’s Boston Marathon. This race has been held since 1897 on Patriots’ Day, a holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
An event of this caliber is sure to include a few common sports injuries, such as muscle strains and dehydration. But no one would expect the carnage at this year’s event, where explosions killed several people and injured more than 170 others.
As a former runner and a Boston native, I know the joy of participating in an event in this wonderful, vibrant and historic city. This international race, intended for fun and celebration, quickly was turned into a field triage area for the care and transport of mass casualty patients. One can only imagine the horror of those finishing the grueling race and trying to find loved ones in the viewing stands. Or of those innocent victims – husbands, wives, children, spectators – suddenly struck down and seriously injured or killed.
We applaud the efforts of the police, first responders and the Boston -area hospitals for their fast intervention and care for the injured. Just as runners train for a competition, these public safety and health professionals train to handle emergency situations such as these, and we are grateful for their dedication and experience.
On behalf of the Georgia Regents University and Health System community, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and all those affected by this tragedy.
Let’s all keep our focus on the finish line – whoever we are, wherever we are – and not let fear or intimidation keep us from running the great race of life.
Richard W. Sattin, M.D.
(The writer is a professor of medicine and research director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Georgia Regents University Augusta.)