May 13, 2013

Brothers who lost legs in Boston heal in tandem

Hard work and a touch of sibling rivalry help the men make remarkable recoveries, a doctor says.

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Two brothers who each lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing showed competitive spirit Monday that could help speed their recoveries.

Paul Norden, JP Norden
click image to enlarge

Paul Norden, left, and his brother J.P., right, both suffering limb-loss after the Boston Marathon bombing, embrace after a news conference at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston's Charlestown section Monday, May 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

click image to enlarge

Paul Norden, left, and his brother J.P., right, both suffering limb-loss and major blast related injuries in the Boston Marathon bombing, prepare for a news conference at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston's Charlestown section Monday, May 13, 2013. Helping Paul at left is their younger brother, Jonathan, and at right is JP's girlfriend, Kelly Castine. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Paul and J.P Norden were in separate hospitals for weeks before J.P., who is 33, joined his 31-year-old brother at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston on Friday.

The brothers expect to be fitted for prosthetic devices in about two months, and a doctor who treated them said it's likely they'll be playing basketball together soon -- just as they did before the April 15 attack.

A touch of sibling rivalry was on display as they spoke at a news conference Monday.

"We were close from start to, you know, now," J.P. Norden said.

"But I won in everything," his brother quipped.

Dr. Ross Zafonte said their recoveries have been remarkable since the bombings that left three people dead and more than 260 injured.

"The compelling thing about them is how close they are together, how much they've had to combat, and the tremendous work they've done already and are doing," Zafonte said.

The Nordens were watching the race with friends outside a Boylston Street restaurant, waiting for a friend who was in the race to run by, when the second bomb exploded near them. Another buddy of theirs also lost a leg, and other friends suffered serious injuries that included burns and shrapnel wounds.

Each of the brothers lost his right leg and needed multiple surgeries. They plan to live together at their parents' home in Wakefield, Mass., to continue healing after their eventual hospital discharges.

"We're gonna work on it and get through this," Paul Norden said.

Facebook from people as far away as Great Britain.

The elder sibling last worked doing deliveries for a roofing company. The younger brother did some of the sheet metal work on Spaulding's new facility in the city's Charlestown section, never thinking he'd end up as a patient in the same hospital.

Police say it was two brothers who built and detonated the bombs that changed the Nordens' lives forever. One is dead and a 19-year-old suspect faces charges that could bring the death penalty.

The Nordens said they're focused on healing and haven't been closely following the law enforcement investigation into the bombings. J.P. said he wants to deal with getting better and stronger first, and Paul said he doesn't want the suspects to get any more attention.

"I don't even think of those cowards," he said.

 

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