Thoughts from the Dean

A Time for Reflection and Healing

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April 15, 2014
A Time for Reflection and Healing

Honoring all affected by the Boston Marathon events and the strength of our resilient city.

Today we mark the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. It is a time for reflection and for expressions of gratitude. It is also an opportunity for us to remember those who died and to honor the strength and courage of the survivors, the first responders and our resilient city.

Few among us were not affected, either directly or indirectly, by the events of April 15, 2013, when three people were killed and more than 260 injured at the race's crowded finish line.

Many of the wounded were taken to HMS-affiliated teaching hospitals, where hundreds of caregivers responded heroically. Expert triage efforts ensured that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital each received dozens of patients within the first hour. Boston Children's Hospital cared for young patients ranging in age from 2 to 12. Mass Eye and Ear physicians were asked to aid patients suffering from serious blast injuries, and during the following weeks and months, physicians and their colleagues at McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital helped many patients recover and reclaim their lives. Mount Auburn Hospital also provided life-saving care in the days after the marathon.

Not one single person transported to our hospitals on the day of the bombings died. Hundreds of hospital personnel, including some third-year HMS students who are graduating this year, responded in droves, doing what the medical profession has always been called upon to do—helping and healing, relieving suffering and saving lives. They followed their impulse to serve, to comfort and to heal.

There are a number of ways we can all honor those who were affected by last year's tragic events.

I invite you to join me at 2:49 p.m. today in a moment of silence to reflect on the strength, compassion and resilience of those in our city and our community who responded to the violence with bravery, selflessness and an indomitable spirit.

For those on the Quad, I invite you to come together as your schedule permits to watch the televised tribute beginning at noon to mark the one-year anniversary. Viewing areas have been set up in the Courtyard Café, in the TMEC atrium and at the NEPRC. You may wish to view the ceremonies with members of our community or you can watch from your computer here.

Others throughout the HMS community may participate in ceremonies and tributes, panel discussions and healing services organized at our affiliated institutions. Through these events, we can publicly acknowledge the innumerable unselfish acts that aided the wounded and their loved ones, inspiring the entire world.

Also, to support those still in need of assistance, you may choose to contribute to the One Fund, which continues to be an important resource for survivors and their families.

Today, I believe we can join together to transform an anniversary of tragedy into a tribute to those whose courage and spirit represents the best of humanity. To all of them, including the many members of our remarkable community who served and who continue to serve, I express my deepest admiration and gratitude.

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