Doc tells of treating dead Boston bomber

2013-04-21 13:06


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Boston - A doctor involved in treating the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died in a gun battle with police says he had injuries head to toe and all limbs intact when he arrived at the hospital.

Dr David Schoenfeld said 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unconscious and had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre early on Friday that it isn't clear which ones killed him, and a medical examiner will have to determine the cause of death.

The second bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was in serious condition at the same hospital after his capture on Friday night. The FBI has not allowed hospital officials to say any more about his wounds or condition.

Injuries from head to toe

Schoenfeld lives in the Boston suburb of Watertown and heard explosions from the shoot-out between the two brothers and police early on Friday. He called the hospital to alert staff they likely would be getting injured people, then rushed in to co-ordinate preparations.

"We had three or four trauma teams in different rooms set up and ready," unsure of whether they would be treating a bombing suspect, injured police or bystanders, Schoenfeld said.

The older Tsarnaev's clothes had been cut off by emergency responders at the scene, so if he had been wearing a vest with explosives, he wasn't by the time he arrived at the hospital, the doctor said.

"From head to toe, every region of his body had injuries," he said. "His legs and arms were intact - he wasn't blown into a million pieces" - but he lost a pulse and was in cardiac arrest, meaning his heart and circulation had stopped, so CPR, or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, was started.

Schoenfeld did not address police's assertion that Tsarnaev was run over by a car driven by his brother as he fled the gunfire.

'We did everything we could'

Schoenfeld said he couldn't discuss specific treatments in the case except to say what is usually done in such circumstances, including putting a needle in the chest to relieve pressure that can damage blood vessels, and cutting open the chest and using rib-spreaders to let doctors drain blood in the sac around the heart that can put pressure on the heart and keep it from beating.

"Once you've done all of those things ... if they don't respond there's really nothing you can do. You've exhausted the playbook," he said.

After 15 minutes of unsuccessful treatment, doctors pronounced him dead.

"We did everything we could" to try to save his life, Schoenfeld said.

How did the medical team react to treating the bombing suspect?

"There was some discussion in the emergency room about who it was. That discussion ended pretty quickly," Schoenfeld said. "It really doesn't matter who the person is. We're going to treat them as best we can."

Read more on:    us  |  boston explosions

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.