Officer Richard Donohue was gravely injured during a shootout between the police and the Boston bomber suspects. For about 45 minutes Donohue had no pulse and was technically dead. "I did die," Donohue told CBS News senior correspondent John Miller as he spoke out for the very first time.
Donohue is still in the ICU, nearly one month after the shooting. But he has maintained a positive attitude and is in great spirits. Eventually Donohue wants to get back to work. He can't "fathom spending six months or a year-- sitting at home and just doing nothing."
Donohue barely recalls what happened that night. He's been piecing together what happened on April 19th from what he remembers, stories from his partner and others. One word that best describes that night: mayhem.
Everybody responded to an "officer down" call that night in Cambridge. Donohue hit the lights and was the second transit police officer on scene. Donohue was a bit shaken up when he found out it was Officer Sean Collier. He was "a good friend of mine," Donohue said. Donohue and Collier met at the academy, they drove to the academy every day together and they would hangout on weekends too. "It was weird, you know? It's like, we couldn't get enough of each other during the week," Donohue said. Donohue tried to call his wife to tell the sad news but Kim didn't pick up the phone.
Donohue and his partner drove around Watertown and Cambridge looking for the suspects. "We ended up on one side of the street, and there's a lot of the Watertown guys were on the other side of the street. The bad guys are down the street," Donohue said.
At first Donohue thought it was just some crazy, random act of violence. Donohue said, "once we got on scene and there was gunfire being exchanged and once they started throwing the bombs or improvised explosive devices that I guess, I'm pretty sure I did (referring to the Boston bombing suspects). I looked at things, we looked at each other and you don't even need to say a word, you're like, "This is it. These are the guys."
"It was complete craziness. I've heard it was tons of cops from different departments firing on them, them firing on us, explosives going off. Granted, this is in the suburbs in Watertown. This isn't exactly---what we call a war zone," Donohue said.
Donohue was shot. He took a few steps sideways or backwards, perhaps trying to secure his weapon. Donohue yelled, "I'm hit." His partner was right there. "He tackled me, just to get me down. He applied pressure, trying to figure out where I was shot," Donohue said.
The ambulance came within a minute or so. "Guys helped from a whole bunch of different departments, ripping my shirt off, ripping my vest off-- starting CPR. Physically reaching into my leg to-- to hold stuff together, 'cause it was the artery that was hit," Donohue said. Donohue got a severed femoral artery in his leg and the blood was draining fast. Donohue was on his way to Mt. Auburn Hospital.
A uniformed officer went to the Donohue home to tell Kim what happened. She immediately opened the door, looked at the officer and said: "You are my worst nightmare."
"I know why you're here," Kim recalled saying. "You're really scaring me. You are literally my worst nightmare come true. As the wife of an officer, I know exactly why you're here. You better tell me if Dick is dead right now. Don't walk in this house, don't come past the door."
Kim continued, "Tell me if Dick is dead. If he's alive and he's not dead... well, then he'll stay alive. We'll figure this out and he'll be fine. But just tell me if he's alive or dead." The officer replied, "He's not dead. He's in the OR. He was shot in the groin. But he is not dead."
When Kim arrived at the hospital, she assumed Donohue was going to be wheeled right out of the OR and she was going to speak with him. Kim didn't understand the severity of what had happened. A doctor pulled Kim aside and told her "we just got his heart back." Kim said, "What do you mean?" The doctor responded, "We just got his pulse back." Kim said, "He was shot almost an hour ago. What do you mean you just got his pulse back?"
The medical team worked quickly to replenish Donohue's lost blood. Kim saw six or seven men walking past her with huge moving boxes just filled with blood.
Donohue remembered seeing "on the inside of my vest it says what-- what blood type I am." Donohue told the nurses, "I'm O positive. You guys used O positive blood, right?" And they kind of laughed and said, "Look buddy-- we used any blood we can. When something like that happens, we just put blood in you just to keep stuff going."
"They used so much blood in me that I must have drained a couple hospitals," Donohue said.
When Donohue woke up for the very first time, he remembered having a tube in my mouth, not being able to move side-by-side and dazed. He asked, "Where am I? What's goin' on?" It was surreal. His wife Kim said, "You got shot." And Donohue replied, "NO, no, I didn't get shot. You're crazy." Then he had a craving for McDonald's. "Somebody get me a Big Mac," said Donohue. And the nurses said, "Sorry, pal, you can't eat. You got take it easy for a little while."
Many visitors have stopped by to see Donohue at the ICU including his Police Chief Paul McMillian, Boston PD Commissioner Ed Davis, Governor Duval Patrick, FBI and other law enforcement officers. Actor Kevin Spacey, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and former NFL player Greg Hill also dropped in.
Out of every terrible experience, there's a silver lining. Kim believes when Donohue gets out of ICU and feels better, this will be ultimately the best thing happened to them. "We will never not enjoy a day. We will never not enjoy a hug or a kiss," said Kim.
Kim expects the bad memory to fade over time and remember all the good stuff that happened. This has really shown them the good in people. "One bad thing happens, a hundred people step forward. This was a hundred to the nth degree. So much good has come out of this. Dic and I will never, for the rest of our lives, ever forget that.
Said Kim: "My hope is that once he returns to normal, we'll only remember the good from this."