Responding to Tragedy

Unfortunately, the Boston medical community has repeatedly been called upon to respond during historic tragedy. Our BSS Surgeons have contributed and led ... so building our legacy.

“North on the Boston & Maine”

During his Presidential address on December 6, 2010, Magruder C. Donaldson offered this captivating and truly historical address. Initially, he highlighted many early luminaries of Boston Surgery and the Society. He next portrayed the epic Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917. Everyone in the room was mesmerized as he chronicled this disaster and relief efforts from the unique viewpoints of surgeons and caregivers of that time.  Boston surgeons dropped their work and with members of their medical communities headed north to help so many in need.  It would not be the last time their leadership and remarkable abilities would be needed in Boston and American history. Boston still celebrates and welcomes each winter a beautiful holiday evergreen to Boston Commons… the lasting gesture of gratitude from our Nova Scotia friends and neighbors!

Cocoanut Grove in 1942

One of the greatest tragedies in Boston during the 20th Century, the infamous Cocoanut Grove inferno instantly called upon Boston surgeons and caregivers to innovate and advance burn care on the spot if lives were to be saved. Much like medical and surgical advances realized under the duress of war, burn sepsis nutrition and wound care would advance from Boston and into the world as a result of this tragedy. So many BSS luminaries are responsible for the lives saved including Francis D. Moore, Bradford Cannon and others.

Patriots Day 2013 –
The Boston Marathon Bombings 

On November 4th, 2013 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel the BSS convened over a very sad topic, but one forever pivotal in Boston surgical history. On Patriots Day April 2013, terrorists set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon while the world watched. Three died and hundreds were injured and maimed. In the aftermath, a young police officer would also be killed. More would have died and suffered were it not for the remarkable coordinated response by so many in the Boston emergency and medical communities. BSS trauma leaders across our city took us back to realize and understand what happened during the panel “Triage and Cooperation Among Five Trauma Centers – The Boston Marathon 2013”. It was a solemn evening, but pride lifted us through sorrow, and reaffirmed to all our roles and responsibilities as surgeons.