DiversityNursing Blog

Boston Marathon Bombing Victim Marries His Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 01:26 PM

By DENISE LAVOIE Associated Press

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If something good could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing, James Costello and Krista D'Agostino seem to have found it.

Sixteen months after the attack killed three people and injured more than 260, including Costello, he married D'Agostino, the nurse who helped him recover. The couple exchanged vows Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Boston in front of about 160 guests.

A photograph of Costello with his clothes ripped to shreds and parts of his body burned became one of the most recognized images of the 2013 attack. He met D'Agostino, a nurse at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, while he was recovering from multiple surgeries for shrapnel injuries and serious burns that required pig skin grafts on his right arm and right leg.

After the couple became engaged, Costello said he believed he was involved in the tragedy in order to meet D'Agostino, whom he described as his best friend and the love of his life.

"One thing that she hates that I always say is I'm actually glad I got blown up," Costello said on the "Today" show in December. "I wish everyone else didn't have to, but I don't think I would have ever met her if I didn't."

Wedding planner Rachael Gross said she and the other vendors involved in the wedding donated their services.

"They are the most gracious, generous, kind, ... loving couple," Gross said. "They believe that they were meant to meet."

The wedding ceremony was held outdoors on the hotel's third-floor terrace, with blue and white hydrangeas all around. The reception was held in the hotel's grand ballroom.

"It was more like a classic Nantucket style, but without a literal nautical theme," Gross said.

Costello, of Malden, was gathered with friends near the marathon finish line, watching for another friend who was running when two bombs exploded within seconds of each another. Three of Costello's friends lost a leg, while other friends suffered burns and shrapnel injuries.

During his two-week stay at Massachusetts General Hospital, Costello was among patients who met President Barack Obama. He was later transferred to Spaulding.

Costello and D'Agostino, both 31, are honeymooning in Hawaii.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

Topics: marriage, feel good story, nurse, patient, Boston Marathon

Nurses on the run

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 @ 01:43 PM

For nearly a year, the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath have haunted Chelsey McGinn, RN, of the Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In December the MGH gave McGinn an opportunity to honor the victims – and begin her own healing process – by running this year’s marathon as part of its Emergency Response Fund team.

“I feel like it’s been almost a year now, and I haven’t really done anything therapeutic sinceBlake12Marathoners resized 600 it happened,” McGinn says. “I felt like other people who I worked with found ways to kind of cope with it, but I hadn’t really found that. When this came up, I thought this was a perfect way to celebrate how far the victims have come and recognize my co-workers.” 

McGinn is one of six nurses on her unit who are planning to run the 2014 Boston Marathon – five for charity teams and one as a qualified runner. Most are first-time runners, and all say they are running in honor of the three bombing victims who were treated on the unit.

“I had a really hard time afterward, and it lasted longer than I expected,” says Laura Lux, RN, who is running for the American Red Cross. “I’m running because I don’t want to be defeated. I know if he could, my patient would be running just to prove a point. Because he can’t, I feel like I need to do this for him. After watching what he and his family went through, I feel like it’s the least I could do for them.”

Lux says she felt an immediate connection with her patient and his family. “Despite everything they were just so determined and so strong,” she says. “Everyone was angry, but there was good coming from it too. We got to know each other because of it. I felt like he was a family member. It’s the most personal experience of my career.”

Lux’s experience is similar to that of the other nurses who are running, including Emily Erhardt, RN, a trauma ICU nurse and member of the MGH Emergency Response Fund Team, who has stayed in touch with her patient and his family since they left the hospital. “This event affected everyone, so it was one of the few times in my career that I felt like all I could do with the family was cry with them. It’s such a terrible thing that happened that there aren’t words to comfort them. You just have to be there for them,” she says. “A year ago they were strangers to me, but now they’re the most inspiring people in my life. I’m not much of an athlete, but I was really affected by the whole thing, and I wanted to do something more.”

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Blake 12 runners receive a boost of support from the Harvard University Employees Credit Union. Included in the photo with members of the ICU are Paul Conners, MGH branch manager; Eugene Foley, president and CEO; and Guillermo Banchiere, MGH director of Environmental Services, who serves as a member of the credit union's board of directors.

Allyson Mendonza, RN, who is running for the Mass General Marathon Team “Fighting Kids Cancer … One Step At a Time,” recalls the moment she knew she too wanted to do something more. Mendonza says her patient had just returned from surgery when she was told President Barack Obama was coming to visit. The woman was excited but was distraught about her appearance, so Mendonza and her colleague soaked her nails and helped shampoo and condition her hair to wash out the cement and clumps of dried blood.

“We just tried our best to make her feel better about herself and feel good for the day ahead. She actually fell asleep. When she awoke, she said, ‘This is the most relaxed I have felt in days.’ It was just so emotional for us and for her,” Mendonza says.

Caring for the marathon victims brought the unit closer together, and staff once again have come together to support and encourage their fellow colleagues.

“The teamwork and the camaraderie were amazing,” saysKatherine Pyrek, RN, who was the charge nurse during the week of the bombing. “Every one of the nurses was affected by what was going on, but they stayed strong and carried on. The bonds the nurses made with the patients and their families were incredible and really went above and beyond.”

Pyrek, who is running for the Mass General Marathon Team, says the Blake 12 runners offer each other advice and encouragement to help in the training process. “We remind why we’re doing this – for our patients and their families,” she says. “I think about the patients when they were in pain and how scared they were. I think that if they get through it then I can get through however many miles I need to run.”

 

The runners all say they look to Meredith Salony, RN, a veteran marathoner who qualified for the marathon, for guidance. “I’m so proud to be in this unit where there’s so much enthusiasm. Even the people who aren’t running are trying to help out and organize events and find ways for people to contribute,” Salony says.

Each of the nurses says they are overwhelmed when they imagine how they will feel on Marathon Monday.

“I think it’ll be really therapeutic and empowering,” McGinn says. “I’m honored to be a part of it. If I’m ever going to run a marathon, this is the one I want to run. I’ll always remember the way I felt at work that night, and it’s going to be a really nice thing to be able to remember this feeling for the rest of my life too.”

For more information or to support the teams visit www.runformgh.org.

This is the first in a series of articles that MGH Hotline will publish about staff running in this year’s Boston Marathon.

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital

Topics: nurses, patients, Boston Marathon, Massachusetts General Hospital, Run for MGH

Sweeping runners out of harm’s way; Westford nurse stayed at her post

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 03:47 PM

By Joyce Pellino Crane

When Diana Walker-Moyer left her Westford home on the morning of April 15 to volunteer at the Boston Marathon, she had no idea that her nursing skills would thrust her into the first known and widespread terrorist attack in this northeast region since 9/11.

       Walker-Moyer was one of hundreds of volunteers on duty to ensure the successful operation and completion of the 117th Boston Marathon – an event, by all accounts, so meticulously planned by the Boston Athletic Association that not one detail falls through the cracks, and yet, the occurrences brought mayhem to Copley Square.

       “There are so many stories that just tear your heart apart,” Walker-Moyer said.

       A nurse practitioner, Walker-Moyer was there to assist those runners crossing the finish line who were exhausted and dehydrated. She’s done the same thing during four previous Boston Marathons.

       But as runners arrived, two bombs were detonated along Boylston Street where the largest group of spectators was standing. The blasts killed three, injured 183, and caused some to lose limbs and suffer hearing loss.

       Walker-Moyer, who works at the student health clinic at UMass Lowell, is a volunteer member of the Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, based in Westford. She began volunteering at the marathon initially five years ago with other members of the reserve corps, and then continued solo.

       “I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to work in a profession where I can help people so I use it when I can,” she said.

       Sandy Collins, the town’s director of health care services, is keenly aware of Walker-Moyer’s voluntary efforts.

       “Diana is one of our most dedicated and active Medical Reserve Corps volunteers,” said Collins. “She joined the unit, becoming one of our first members in 2004. In the past Diana also received the prestigious national ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award given by the Office of Volunteer Civilian MRC.”

The corps is one of 45 units in Massachusetts, and one of 982 in the nation, that is actively recruiting and training volunteers for emergency events. The Westford-based unit includes six surrounding communities poised to help about 250 million residents. Westford’s health department is the lead agency.

Walker-Moyer, who travels each year to Haiti to help victims of the 2010 earthquake, said she’s committed to helping others.

       “Every single one of us can do something, one little thing to help, just because we can,” she said. “I don’t think people can comprehend the detail that goes into running this race. There’s a huge cadre of people who come together...”

According to Walker-Moyer, there were two medical tents set up at the marathon. Medical tent A was located at the finish line, and medical tent B was sited further down the road at Berkley Street near St. James, she said. Inside were emergency room physicians, intensive care unit nurses, and emergency medical technicians.

       Walker-Moyer was asked to oversee a team of 15 health care providers charged with scanning the throngs for light-headed runners as they arrived. Her zone stretched along Boylston Street from a point between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets toward Berkley.

       The trickle of elite runners moving past her at the beginning of the race, swelled to a sea of bodies, as the slower runners finished the race.

       “It’s like swimming in a sea of lemmings,” she said. “There are so many faces.”

       According to the BAA, 23,336 began the race and 17,580 finished.

       Her role was to keep people moving toward a supply of water bottles, Mylar blankets and the medals for finishers. Some team members stood by with wheelchairs in case a runner fainted.

       “People are running this whole time and their heart is circulating the blood and so are their leg muscles,” Walker-Moyer said. “Then when they stop, that leg action muscle no longer is working the same because they’ve stopped moving and they may not be getting as much blood flow to their head.”

       When the first explosion occurred on Boylston between Exeter and Dartmouth Streets, she was walking with a runner. Everyone turned to look. It sounded like a cannon, she said. “But there was no reason for that to happen right then. It made no sense,” Walker-Moyer said.

       “Then the second one went off,” she said. “We were probably 100 yards away from it. Then you have all these people going from joy-faced to sad-faced because they’re in pain.” The second bomb was detonated 13 seconds later in front of the Forum Restaurant between Exeter and Fairfield Streets.

       Medical tent A quickly became a triage center for the wounded.

       “Thank God those people were there because more people would have died just from blood loss,” said Walker-Moyer. “The response was rapid and appropriate and lives were saved.”

       As three police officers rushed past her toward the finish line, Walker-Moyer stayed at her post moving runners forward, said Collins.

“Diana was part of the medical sweep teams at the finish line, helping to move runners away from harm’s way after the explosions occurred,” Collins said.

       Next year she’ll do it all over again, Walker-Moyer said.

       “It’s Patriots’ Day. You think of the citizens who went to fight (in 1775) and we have this citizens medical group who are trained to volunteer when there’s a crisis,” she said. “One of the strengths of our nation has to be a prepared citizenry.”

Source: Wicked Local - Westford 

Topics: help, assistance, Boston bombing, patriot, nurse, Boston Marathon

Boston Nurses tell of bloody marathon aftermath

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The screams and cries of bloody marathon bombing victims still haunt the
describe the imagenurses who treated them one week ago. They did their jobs as they were trained to do, putting their own fears in a box during their 12-hour shifts so they could better comfort their patients.

Only now are these nurses beginning to come to grips with what they endured — and are still enduring as they continue to care for survivors. They are angry, sad and tired.  A few confess they would have trouble caring for the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, if he were at their hospital and they were assigned his room.

And they are thankful. They tick off the list of their hospital colleagues for praise: from the security officers who guarded the doors to the ER crews who mopped up trails of blood. The doctors and — especially — the other nurses.

Nurses from Massachusetts General Hospital, which treated 22 of the 187 victims the first day, candidly recounted their experiences in interviews with The Associated Press. Here are their memories:

THEY WERE SCREAMING

Megann Prevatt, ER nurse: "These patients were terrified. They were screaming. They were crying ... We had to fight back our own fears, hold their hands as we were wrapping their legs, hold their hands while we were putting IVs in and starting blood on them, just try to reassure them: 'We don't know what happened, but you're here. You're safe with us.' ... I didn't know if there were going to be more bombs exploding. I didn't know how many patients we'd be getting. All these thoughts are racing through your mind."

SHRAPNEL, NAILS

Adam Barrett, ICU nurse, shared the patient bedside with investigators searching for clues that might break the case. "It was kind of hard to hear somebody say, 'Don't wash that wound. You might wash evidence away.'" Barrett cleaned shrapnel and nails from the wounds of some victims, side by side with law enforcement investigators who wanted to examine wounds for blast patterns. The investigator's request took him aback at first. "I wasn't stopping to think, 'What could be in this wound that could give him a lead?'"

THEIR FACES, THEIR SMILES

Jean Acquadra, ICU nurse, keeps herself going by thinking of her patients' progress. "The strength is seeing their faces, their smiles, knowing they're getting better. They may have lost a limb, but they're ready to go on with their lives. They want to live. I don't know how they have the strength, but that's my reward: Knowing they're getting better."

She is angry and doesn't think she could take care of Tsarnaev, who is a patient at another hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: "I don't have any words for him."

THE NEED FOR JUSTICE

Christie Majocha, ICU nurse: "Even going home, I didn't get away from it," Majocha said. She is a resident of Watertown, the community paralyzed Friday by the search for the surviving suspect. She helped save the lives of maimed bombing victims on Monday. By week's end, she saw the terror come to her own neighborhood. The manhunt, she felt, was a search for justice, and was being carried out directly for the good of her patients.

"I knew these faces (of the victims). I knew what their families looked like. I saw their tears," she said. "I know those families who are so desperate to see this end."

On Friday night, she joined the throngs cheering the police officers and FBI agents, celebrating late into the night even though she had to return to the hospital at 7 a.m. the next day.

Source: Times Union

Topics: ER, tragedy, comfort, nurse, patients, Boston Marathon

Partners Donates $1M to One Fund

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 03:17 PM

By Roberto Scalese

As ambulances screamed away from the finish line Monday, they carried many of the injured to hospitals operated by Partners HealthCare, including Mass General and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Partner's President and CEO Gary L. Gottlieb told workers today that the company will continue its efforts with a $1 million donation to One Fund Boston

Spaulding Rehabilitation in Fmass genramingham is part of the Partners Healthcare group. 

"We are making this commitment on behalf of and in honor and recognition of every one of our 60,600 men and women who give every moment of every day to support our mission of caring for our patients and their families," wrote Gottlieb Monday in an email to all Partners employees. "Every one of our employees is a member of this community. So let us take this opportunity to stand together to say we will be there to help."

In the email, Gottlieb thanked the doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly over the past week.

"We know of the extraordinary and immediate response of our doctors, nurses, care teams and the staffs at our hospitals who provided life saving support to the wounded and who will continue to deliver much needed care in the weeks and months ahead. All of our training and preparation for horrific events like this have been widely praised. Even the President made mention of it on his visit to Boston last week," he wrote.

One Fund Boston was established by Mayor Thomas Menino and Governor Deval Patrick as a fund to help the victims of the Marathon bombings. In it's first day alone, the fund raised over $7 million to help defray medical costs for the injured.

Source: Framingham Patch

Topics: Partners Healthcare, 1M, Boston, Boston Marathon, donation

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