The true heroes of the Boston marathon bombing were the EMT services, headed by Boston Emergency Services Chief Jimmy Hooley.
The EMT services got all the victims off the streets outside where the bombs exploded in a record 18 minutes, reports the Boston Herald.
“It all worked” Irish American Hooley said about his staff, who have been praised by President Obama among others for their extraordinary speed of reaction.
Many more would have died were it not for the incredibly quick reaction time,
“The response, the selflessness, and not being afraid to put yourself in danger — our guys did an unbelievable job,” Hooley said.
Trauma surgeons now credit the EMT responders with keeping the casualty count so low.
“They deserve tremendous credit,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital trauma center director Dr. Jonathan Gates told the Boston Herald. “They recognized the injuries and treated them aggressively.”
Hooley said his 340-member crew were able to separate the seriously injured from the walking wounded.
“They told people who were able to walk, ‘Keep walking, to the medical tent.’ That way, our guys were freed up to run to the people on the ground, people who were unconscious, incapacitated, unable to walk,” he said. “They’re the ones that need the operating rooms and the surgeons.”
The emergency crews then color-coded the patients in terms of injuries, with “red” for those who were worst off.
“The dispatchers at police headquarters have a list of all the care capabilities, so they knew which patients had to go where,” said Hooley, a Dorchester native who is a 35-year veteran.
“It was like, ‘Take these two reds to Mass General. The next two go to the Beth Israel,’ ” he said. “That way, no one hospital got chewed up.”
Emergency workers that had worked in Middle East combat zones were especially effective.
“One of the guys said to me, ‘I thought what I was doing over there was worthwhile, because I was preventing that from happening here,’ ” Hooley said.
Today, he is most amazed that the crew, in 18 minutes, cleared the victims off the street despite not knowing if another bomb was set to blow.
“They ran in there to get people off Boylston Street, though there was no reason to think there weren’t more bombs,” he said. “They took a calculated risk. They knew they had to get those patients out of there.”