Boston Marathon first responders honored

June 02, 2013
Chancellor Michael F. Collins took a moment during the Commencement ceremony to honor the 14 first responders at the Boston Marathon bombings from the Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care, including Christina Hernon, MD (left), and Maurine Williams, MD (center).

Chancellor Michael F. Collins honored the 14 members of the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care team who were volunteering at the Boston Marathon medical tent on Monday, April 15, when two bombs exploded in an apparent terrorist attack. Two members, Christina Hernon, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine and Maurine Williams, MD, emergency medicine resident, joined him on stage.

Read his complete remarks:

“Today, as we mark the end of our academic year and celebrate all that is great about our medical school, it is fitting to recognize our colleagues—14 of them both from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care—who, as medical volunteers at the Marathon, taught us a powerful and enduring lesson on the fundamental covenant between caregiver and patient.

To represent our Marathon medical volunteers, I would ask that Drs. Christina Hernon and Maurine Williams please join me at the podium.

Drs. Hernon and Williams, on that sunny and festive April Day, you and your fellow colleagues, some veteran medical volunteers of the Boston Marathon, were expecting to perform routine first aid to runners suffering from the usual ailments associated with long-distance races—dehydration, exhaustion, aches and pains.

In one horrifying instant, you faced an unprecedented and even unimaginable scene that tested your training, resolve and responsibility as a caregiver.

As the explosions were replaced with piercing screams and panicked bystanders and as the first wave of injured victims were brought to the medical tent, you made an instinctive and immediate decision. You chose your duty as a caregiver and in a selfless act, without regard for your own safety, you ran down Boylston Street to respond to those in need.

Many needed the intellect and training of highly skilled professionals. Others needed a caring smile; a consoling word; a compassionate embrace; a confident demeanor; a careful caution or a consistent assurance.

On behalf of all those for whom you cared, we know you brought comfort.

On behalf of all those who call you colleague, we know you brought us pride.

On behalf of all of us, we know our world is better because of you and your colleagues.

We are grateful for the lesson you have taught us on the privilege of caring for others.”

Soothing words for the wounded in bombing aftermath

As the medical tent at the Boston Marathon rapidly filled with traumatically injured runners and spectators caught in bomb explosions at the finish line on April 15, James Broadhurst, MD, MHA, provided a calm and reassuring presence. See this video feature about his experience.