Hospital emergency chief on Boston Marathon bombing injuries: Lower limb, shrapnel injuries prevalent

Injured people and debris lie on the sidewalk near the Boston Marathon finish line following a bomb blast
Injured people and debris lie on the sidewalk near the Boston Marathon finish line following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh

CBS News) Dr. Richard Wolfe, chief of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told CBS News Tuesday that four people remain in critical condition -- and two very critical -- in his hospital following the bomb blasts that shook the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday afternoon. The rest of the 17 people who remain at the hospital are in serious condition.

"There are good hopes that everyone will pull through," he said.

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The hospital initially admitted 24 people; seven were released, Wolfe said.

The injuries sustained in the bombing have been primarily shrapnel injury in the lower extremities, he said. "Some hand injuries, but mainly devastating injuries to limbs," he said. "We have at least two amputations and a number of very serious wounds that require fairly aggressive care."

"People with those wound injuries should be quite good at this point," Wolfe continued. "It may take time for the healing to occur, but we're very hopeful that people will do well."

Asked if an event like this was ever expected in the city, Wolfe said, "I don't think we expected this in Boston, frankly. We have seen other disasters elsewhere and I have to say the combination of the way people responded spontaneously and came within 15 minutes, we were able to multiply the size of our staff five-fold, and the way everyone interfaced and functioned as a team, and I think the training that's been ongoing since September 11th, really did pay off in a way that was remarkable. It's been the smoothest sort of handling of mass casualty that I've ever seen in my career."

Boston, Wolfe said, now needs nothing else to happen. "At this point, we've been able to integrate the patients quickly into the system. The health care system is functioning, and back at normal and things are working very, very well."

Watch Wolfe's full "CBS This Morning" interview above.