During the Boston Marathon, I was in the main medical tent when the bombs went off.
In an event like the marathon bombings, a person has two choices—get out of the way or help. I did not save any lives that day, nor did I even go near the critical patients—there were plenty of experienced professionals handling them. But I did step up and I did my best to help.
As the spokesperson for Boston EMS for the past five years, I have seen a few ordinary marathons—a very hot one last year, and a colder one. I have seen runners cry in pain from leg cramps, runners who have needed to be held in an ice bath to cool their bodies, and horrible blisters, and I have experienced terrible smells. I have seen elite runners pass by looking as if they could run it again.
I felt that I had seen it all. I was wrong. This year, as I stood in the medical tent and saw wheelchairs with victims covered in blood coming at me, I threw my camera down, grabbed gloves and followed orders.
At 4:42 p.m., I texted my brother, “I’m OK. Tell everyone. Call mom.” Later, “Someone’s blood is on my clothes. I want to take a bath.” The Boston EMS staff did not leave the scene until around midnight.
After a tragedy like this, there are simple things that every person can do to make themselves both feel safer and be safer—learn CPR, learn First Aid, have a First Aid kit in the house and car, teach your kids how and when to call 911.
We all hope that terrorist acts are not the new normal, but we should be prepared anyway.
Jennifer “Jen” Mehigan ’00
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