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Boston hospitals confronted challenges in identifying patients after Marathon bombing

A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing was rushed to Boston Medical Center.
A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing was rushed to Boston Medical Center.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

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Boston’s trauma centers have been widely praised for saving dozens of Marathon bombing victims: a woman who arrived without a pulse, and others who required bag after bag of blood because they’d lost so much of their own.

The day’s utter chaos made missteps inevitable, but in the months since, the hospitals have realized that there were communications breakdowns and moments of confusion in those unfamiliar first hours—and lessons to be learned. In particular, some of the centers struggled with an unprecedented tide of unidentified patients who inundated their emergency rooms.

Within minutes of the April 15 bombing, many patients arrived unconscious and without purses, wallets, and family members to identify them.

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