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Trauma

An emergency Peter Burke had been preparing 14 years for arrived last April 15

Peter Burke had just finished the morning session of a medical conference at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas when the news flashed on a lobby TV: two bombs had exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, turning an annual celebration into a war zone.

Minutes later he received an emergency text message from Boston Medical Center (BMC), where he is chief trauma surgeon. The unit was inundated with the grievously injured from an attack that killed 3, among them BU graduate student Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), and wounded at least 260. Many of those rushed to BMC were battling for life, with mangled legs, collapsed lungs, and profound blood loss. Burke called his chief nurse to find out if there was any way he could help from a distance of nearly 3,000 miles. The answer was no.

When he arrived in Boston around midnight, Burke rushed from Logan Airport to BMC, one of the city’s five adult Level 1 trauma centers, all of which were scrambling to stabilize the injured. BMC received 28 bomb victims; 19 were admitted, 11 with critical injuries.

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Susan Seligson

Susan Seligson can be reached at sueselig@bu.edu.

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