Boston Medical Center Reflects on Boston Marathon Bombing 10-Year Anniversary

A decade after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon finish line, BMC staff share memories of pain and resilience from the day.
a man is running in an orange outfit, carrying a sign "boston strong"
Boston Globe, Getty Images

Boston Medical Center is marking the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon finish line through story-sharing and reflection. Many of our staff were and are deeply affected by the catastrophe, but the best of BMC was showcased in the immediate aftermath — people coming together to support one another and do everything they could for our patients and their families. You can read the reflections from staff below: 

john archibald headshotJohn Archibald, Inpatient Social Worker, Case Management

"Amidst the confusion and shock from the Boston Marathon bombings, the staff at Boston Medical Center aligned proudly with all Boston emergency and safety services that day and for weeks and months later. Staff from EVERY hospital department and profession quickly organized to be present for survivors, families, and one another. Out of fear and sadness grew tireless and united efforts of empathy and support — the best of BMC that defined 'We are one Boston.'"

Malissa Danforth, Diagnostic Radiology Manager, Radiology

"I reflect on this day every year and speak of it often. This was a day when we all got paged to report to our departments immediately in anticipation of receiving multiple trauma patients for an event that we were not fully aware of at that time.

Patients starting coming into the ED, and I decided quickly to deploy X-ray teams to the ED and trauma rooms for imaging. One technician performed the X-ray while their colleague ran the cassette back to the department to be processed. It was also a perfect storm in terms of timing because it was a change of shift. We had day staff still on and evening staff arriving. But we all worked together as a team to tackle the needs of the ED and our patients.

BMC sure can handle anything that comes our way! Everyone was willing to jump in wherever needed, no matter their regular job duties, in order to be an extra set of hands to assist others in their area. The camaraderie we felt that day, and for months forward, was so powerful. To this day, as tragic a day as it was for Boston, our patients, and America, it will always be a day to remember the bonds that were created for a lifetime that came out of such a tragic attack. Boston Strong!! BMC Proud!!"

carol mccarthy headshot. she is a white woman wearing a red coat and smiling right at the camera. a rainbow appears behind her head.Carol McCarthy, RN, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

"It was just another Marathon Monday like so many I had enjoyed before. My friend and BMC colleague had finished the race, and we had just walked to the buses when the ground rumbled like there had been an earthquake. That night I cared for a patient who, throughout the night —with their communication limited by a breathing tube — asked about one person: their child. I have not seen or spoken to the patient since the end of that shift. Their courage and love for their child has inspired me every day since."

Jason Mordino headshotJason Mordino, Pharmacy Manager, Pharmacist Education

"I was a second-year critical care resident during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. I can distinctly remember the sounds of siren after siren coming to the ED. I left my education lecture to check on the lone ED pharmacist to find a department in upheaval. There were so many amazing clinicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and staff coming together.

I can remember running from bed to bed to deliver medication and help with antibiotic administration, pain management, and intubations. It was chaos, but we all came together because of it. The days and weeks afterward were marked by constant support and praise for first responders, health care workers, and the city of Boston. I reflect kindly on that time as one that brought me and my fellow Emergency Medicine residents closer together. While we had a different role than others, there were three pharmacists working closely together to ensure we could coordinate the needed care for the rapid influx of patients. It was a challenging but inspiring time. I remember our director running medications from the central pharmacy. It was truly all hands on deck! I am proud of our department, proud of our organization, and proud of our city for coming together around the community after the bombing."

Richard Shibley, Senior System Engineer, Information Technologyrichard shibley headshot

"April 15, 2013, the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, was also my first day of work at Boston Medical Center. The events of that week clearly impressed upon me the vital importance of BMC, and still motivate my commitment to this hospital, to our patients, and to our community."



Joanne Timmons, Manager, Domestic Violence Programjoanne timmons closeup

"My recollections from that afternoon and evening begin with the text from my husband, who was volunteering at a medical tent somewhere along the marathon route. He wrote, "There was some type of explosion at the finish line.”

What stands out for me still? The entire Care Management Social Work team worked the phone bank set up in the FGH building to assist callers and people pouring in to learn where their loved ones were. I wondered aloud if the ED staff had eaten, and within about 10 seconds I’d heard that Dave Maffeo was arranging for food to be brought to the ED. There was the alphabet soup of local, state, and federal agencies crawling over the entire ED, gathering evidence, interviewing patients and witnesses, and providing security. Seeing Kate Walsh being frisked at the ED entrance right along with everyone else made me feel both really scared and really safe at the exact same time. Mostly, I recall an overwhelming sense of pride at how quickly and efficiently so many people were figuring out and doing exactly what needed to be done. I knew that while we were helping families get where they needed to be, those who were most badly injured were in the best surgical and medical hands they could be."

Jonathan Hanson-Pereira, Quality & Compliance SpecialistJonathan Hanson-Pereira headshot

"April 15, 2013, started off as a day I knew I’d always remember, and it ended as a day I will never forget. I had spent the past several months training and raising funds for Team BMC, and I was so excited to run the historic Boston Marathon. Everything started off magically and continued even more so. The Boston Marathon does not only have spectators; it has thousands of people participating from home. I felt their energy all the way.

Just as I’d stopped at the designated areas for water, Gatorade, and snacks, I’d also paused at a few moments to post updates and photos to Facebook, where many of my family and friends were following me in real time. Around 2:50 p.m., my friend Edward texted me and wrote, “You should go on and let everyone know if you’re OK.” I had just reached mile 20 — “Heartbreak Hill.” I stopped and took a photo at the 20-mile marker and posted: “Mile 20 – feeling great!!”

Then more texts and Facebook messages came: Where are you? Are you okay? What’s going on? Call me!!

Instead of continuing on like I would have, I stayed still for another couple minutes. I noticed some people were stopped; others ran right by us. Everyone looked confused. Shortly thereafter, event officials came to deliver the news and let us know the race was stopped. Almost immediately after, a few folks who lived right there and seemed to know a bit more than we did, came and invited us over. They were a big group; they had been out on the sidelines and cheering everyone on. They brought us into the home and offered water, juice, snacks, bathroom, towels and phone chargers. They threw everything they had onto the grill in case we were hungry. They offered their own phones in case anyone needed to call someone. We all felt lost and confused in the moment, but these kind folks who had never met us before made sure to add a couple more feelings to that list: safe and welcomed.

We weren’t there for long. A bus came to transport runners to a church near Boston University, and we were again welcomed with open arms. Nearby businesses had dropped everything and brought food, drinks, and supplies to the church for us. I was sitting there among hundreds of strangers, who were also hundreds of my new friends who I may or may not ever see again. I was in shock, wearing shorts and a tank top, with my wallet and house keys locked up in an area that was now a crime scene. But I felt safe; I felt supported; and I felt a connection with those hundreds of folks surrounding me. A couple hours later, my friend was able to drive down and pick me up; later that night, I would be able to go claim my belongings with my marathon bib as a proof of identity.

Throughout the rest of that night and the weeks following, there was an enormous sense of support and community from Team BMC. Our event coordinator from Development started an email chain, checking in with all of us to make sure we were OK, and she left no one unaccounted for. We used that thread to communicate with each other. A couple days later, when I returned to work at BMC’s Cardiovascular Testing/Cardiac Rehab, I felt so much support, empathy, and love from my team. I heard the stories of what happened on campus in response to the tragedy. That week, more than ever, “TEAM BMC” consisted of multiple groups of people who supported myself and each other in many different ways.

As I look back on this day, I am grateful to still be among “BMC Strong,” having recently celebrated my 16th year as a BMC employee. Though my running days are basically over, my heart goes out to the three deceased victims — Martin, Krystle, and Lingzi — and their families, as well as everyone else whose lives changed forever that day.

We are #BostonStrong and #BMCStrong, and no one will ever take that away from us!"