Chattanooga native treats Boston bombing victims - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga native treats Boston bombing victims

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - It's been one month since the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured hundreds. Many are still recovering. One of the doctors treating those patients is a Chattanooga native.
"What was seen on Monday was not something that the vast majority of us had ever seen and had ever imagined even," Dr. Darria Long Gillespie said.

Gillespie, a Chattanooga native, did not start out working that day. Like many in Boston, she was watching the marathon. She was at mile 24 when runners were stopped and she heard about the bombs.  

"As an emergency physician, our feeling is you run to it and you want to be part of the team that's helping anybody who's been a victim of it," Dr. Gillespie said.

She says her compassion for people and then later for medicine began right here in Chattanooga. First, at the Bright School through the fifth grade and then at Girls Preparatory School.

"I think we're exceptionally fortunate with the educations options we have in Chattanooga," she said.

From Chattanooga, she went to Yale and then landed a job at Harvard, plus Beth Israel Deaconess Medical in Boston. That is where the first ambulances went after terror struck.

"The ER was pretty close to full when the bombing went off, so the very first thing you do is get everybody who is safe to get out of the emergency department moved to a different section," Dr. Gillespie said.

More than 250 people were hurt in the attack, she says some with injuries never treated there before.

"You have the kind of blast injury which is like the sheer force of being hit. You also have a more sharp injury from the shrapnel and other things like that and then you also have a heat and thermal injuries," Dr. Gillespie said.

She says her biggest concern was internal injuries because those can be deadly.

"It's really hard to take a step back. You have to do that to take a look at the whole patient and make sure you don't miss anything in this person who needs you," she said.

The surviving bombing suspect was also taken to Beth Israel to be treated where heavy police presence remained for peace of mind.

"To know we can keep doing our job with 100-percent of our ability and we're being kept safe by these officers," Dr. Gillespie said.

Dr. Gillespie says her hospital and others, first responders, and average people stepping up in those critical first moments after the blast is what likely saved countless lives.

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