April 17, 2013

After surgery, Falmouth grad in good condition

Other Mainers in attendance during Monday's attacks – including two Portland surgeons – share their experiences.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A 20-year-old graduate of Falmouth High School is recovering in a Boston hospital from injuries she sustained in a bomb blast near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, her family and authorities said.

click image to enlarge

Flowers are placed by a Boston police barricade near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

AP

click image to enlarge

Injured people and debris lie on the sidewalk near the Boston Marathon finish line following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh)

Related headlines

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit our special section covering the Boston bombings.

Sarah Girouard, a student at Northeastern University and a 2010 graduate of Falmouth High, suffered injuries to her lower extremities, said her aunt Michelle Gagne of Madison, N.H., on Tuesday.

According to the Northeastern University Triathlon Team website, Girouard is studying environmental science and is on schedule to graduate in 2015.

“She was injured, she did have surgery,” said Gagne, who said family members in the hospital told her that Girouard’s prognosis is good.

“The whole thing has kind of been overwhelming,” Gagne said.

A spokesman for Tufts Medical Center said Girouard was in good condition Tuesday afternoon.

Gagne is hoping that her niece will come home to Falmouth soon to recover.

Girouard is among more than 170 people who were injured by two explosions, about 550 feet apart, that killed three people.

The effects of the attack remain fresh for the many Mainers who were at the event as runners and volunteers.

Scott and Kirsten Buchanan of Yarmouth, who have helped for years in the Boston Marathon’s medical tent, said they usually see dehydrated or overheated runners.

Late Monday afternoon, Scott Buchanan, a cardiac and vascular surgeon at Maine Medical Center in Portland, and Kirsten Buchanan, who has a Ph.D. in sports medicine, found themselves helping injured and bloody spectators.

They began by triaging the wounded, said Kirsten Buchanan. Blood pressure numbers were scrawled in black permanent marker on victims’ legs before they were whisked away by emergency medical technicians.

“Until we actually saw the injured people coming in, I really didn’t believe it was happening,” said Scott Buchanan.

Most memorable, both said, was the smell. “It was the smell of singed hair, burnt flesh,” said Kirsten Buchanan.

They passed none of those details on to their four children, ages 5 to 12, who were in Boston for their first visit to the marathon Monday. The children were a few blocks from where the explosions occurred, and were never in harm’s way.

So far, the Buchanans have kept the television off since the bombings, but have talked to their two oldest children, ages 10 and 12, about what happened.

“My oldest daughter said we’re never going to a city again, that’s it,” Scott Buchanan said. “She said, 'Cities make me nervous.’”

Dr. Mylan Cohen, who also was helping in the medical tent, said the sheer number of highly trained medical professionals, and the scene’s proximity to world-class hospitals, likely saved lives.

He estimated that 1,000 people attended a medical briefing Monday morning, packing a nearby auditorium.

Dr. Jeffrey Rosenblatt, a cardiologist in South Portland, had nearly reached the finish line of the 26.2-mile race when he was stopped by race officials. Confused, he and other runners milled around, waiting for information.

Then, someone passed along word that two explosions had gone off near the finish line.

Rosenblatt’s attention turned to his wife and his daughter, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday in Boston. They had gotten VIP passes and were waiting at the finish line to congratulate him.

After a few desperately anxious moments, they swapped text messages and learned that all were safe, even though Rosenblatt’s wife and daughter had been just 20 to 30 feet from the first explosion – close enough for his wife to smell the strong odor of gunpowder.

“Having pretty much run a marathon and being stopped in your tracks, it’s cold ... I was getting hypothermic,” Rosenblatt said.

The runners had had nothing to eat and little to drink, and some simply dropped to the ground, exhausted. Almost immediately, spectators came forward with bags of chips, blankets and drinks.

“One of the spectators took his smelly sweatshirt off his back – I don’t think he had ever washed it – and gave it to me. ... I would have given him $1 million for it at that point.”

Rosenblatt said he will keep the sweatshirt and hold onto it as a memento of a stranger’s generosity at a time of tragedy.

Rosenblatt was in a group with the Run for the Fallen Maine organization, running in honor of Lt. James Zimmerman, who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2010.

“I was running to remind not only myself, but everyone else, we need to honor those people who defend our freedom and who have made the greatest sacrifice to preserve the liberties we have and we should never take for granted,” Rosenblatt said. “Obviously, yesterday was a reminder of how fragile that is.”

-- Staff Writer David Hench contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at

mbyrne@pressherald.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)