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Over the course of Boston's most challenging week, hospital workers have been a shining light

Posted by Scott Kirsner  April 19, 2013 09:35 AM

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If this had been an ordinary week in Boston, the workers who hustle down the hallways of our city's hospitals would've been doing all the things they ordinarily do: drawing blood, tending to patients, performing heart bypasses, delivering babies, running MRIs.

This was nothing like an ordinary week.

On Monday, our city's medical professionals tried to save as many victims of the Marathon blasts as they could. A resident at Boston Medical Center who had been running the race, Natalie Stavas, offered aid to victims on the scene. One trauma surgeon, Dr. David King, reported to work at Mass General not long after he himself crossed the finish line. Employees of Boston Children's Hospital who had been manning a medical tent on the marathon route in Wellesley hurried to the hospital to see how they could help. Hundreds of others whose names we don't know took care of the wounded as they were transported to the city's hospitals, and once they arrived. (Worth a read is this piece in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande, who is a surgeon at Brigham & Women's: "Why Boston's Hospitals Were Ready.")

By Thursday night, after some patients had been released, and others were on the road to recovery, there were new victims on their way to the hospitals: an MIT campus police officer, Sean Collier, who died, and an MBTA transit police officer, who was wounded in a firefight and brought to Mount Auburn Hospital. Then, Beth Israel staffers tried to revive one of the bombing suspects, who showed up in their emergency room at 1:10 a.m. this morning with gunshot and blast injuries. One Beth Israel doctor, David Schoenfeld, happens to live in Watertown. When he started hearing gunshots and sirens in his neighborhood last night, he did the obvious thing: he drove to work.

"You give the best care you can to every patient that comes to you, regardless of what may or may not be," he said at a press conference earlier this morning. "Whether it was a suspect, an innocent, a police officer, you have no idea who it is when they arrive. You give them the best care you can."

If this had been an ordinary week, doctors, nurses, technicians, and admin staffers would have simply been delivering their best care all around town, without getting much appreciation from those not wearing one of those plastic hospital bracelets. A few of them would have run the marathon on Monday to raise a few million for research initiatives and patient care, gone home, and maybe recuperated a bit.

This has been a far from ordinary week, and we owe tremendous gratitude to all those green-gowned workers who show up for work at our city's hospitals on normal days and the rest, ready to help all of us.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited several local hospitals yesterday to say thanks. I'm adding mine here...

Thank you.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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