With reflection and resolve, the MGH marked the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings with a series of events and moments to honor the victims and the survivors, and to recognize the hospital community that came together to heal both bodies and minds.
On April 14, under the Bulfinch tents, Boston Mayor Martin L. Walsh expressed his gratitude to MGH leadership and staff. “I am here today to thank you for the great service you did for our city and in large part for all the work you have done for the families. The way you reacted and carried out your jobs that day, the way you do every day, you are heroes.”
The MGH Employee Access Center was busier than usual on the morning of April 15 as staff lined up to pick up Boston Strong/MGH Proud ribbons.
“I think it’s important to show our support for the city, the survivors and for everyone running in the race,” said Christine Scott, chief technologist in the Department of Neurology.
“We are all painfully aware that two bombs exploded a year ago today shaking our sense of safety and normalcy,” said Ann Prestipino, senior vice president of Surgical, Anesthesia, Emergency Services and Clinical Business Development, during an MGH panel discussion, “First Responders: Perspectives and Lessons Learned,” in the O’Keeffe Auditorium. The panel included MGH staff and clinicians who played key roles at the hospital following the attacks.
“Individual acts of bravery and a shared sense of teamwork saved countless lives,” said Aaron Baggish, MD, associate director of the MGH Cardiovascular Performance Program and co-medical director for the Boston Marathon. “As a city united, we are ready more than ever to make the running of the 2014 Boston Marathon the best this city has ever seen.”
David King, MD, a trauma and acute care surgeon, said everyone sees the tragic event through a different filter. King sees it through the eyes of a man who has run 40-plus marathons and who has served in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “You always have something left in the tank,” said King. “It can look bleak at mile 18, but at mile 26 you are sprinting. This institution demonstrates that over and over again.”
Throughout the day, music filled the hospital corridors. Lorrie Kubicek, MT-BC, and Holly Chartrand, MT-BC, co-coordinators of the MGH Environmental Music Program (EMP), brought together musicians from the Boston area including the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music.
“As a music therapist, I know firsthand the power music has to help our patients rehabilitate, express emotions and reduce the perceptions of pain. EMP musicians use the same qualities in music to bring peacefulness, ease and moments of joy to the larger MGH community. I can think of no better way to commemorate the joys and sorrows held in this day than through music.”
Prayer trees located in the White, Wang and Yawkey building lobbies provided passersby an opportunity to write a prayer or share a wish on a ribbon and tie it to a branch. “Spiritually, this is a very thoughtful opportunity to share, to give and to be thankful,” said Kathryn Krzeminski, a patient service coordinator in the MGH Cancer Center.
During the Commemoration and Service of Peace in the O’Keeffe Auditorium, Rev. John Polk, director of the MGH Chaplaincy, said, “Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that it is set before us. That is what we have done since last April 15, and that is what we do each and every day.” Polk was joined by members of the MGH staff, each of whom offered a prayer for Boston recited in different languages.
At 2:49 pm, there was a moment of silence to observe the moment the first of two bombs exploded near the marathon finish line.
“We must look at the growth that comes from devastation,” said Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse. “Our patients and families benefited from your knowledge, skill and compassion. Together we continue to move forward, to show we are resilient and we are good people. We are Boston Strong and MGH proud.”
Read more articles from the 04/18/14 Hotline issue.