'Pulling nails out of a little girl's flesh is just awful': Surgeons reveal horror of Boston bombings

 

Surgeons have spoken of their horror as they were forced to amputate several limbs following many “lower extremity” wounds caused by flying shrapnel from the Boston bombs.

After law enforcement officials said a pressure cooker stuffed with gunpowder and shrapnel caused at least one of the blasts, medics spoke of their decision to amputate limbs that were “beyond salvation” among the 176 wounded.

At least 10 people who had limbs amputated after the blast with the floor-level explosion causing injuries below the waist, including bone, soft tissue and vascular damage.

Doctors said the amputations had been part of a frantic bid to stop patients bleeding to death.

“When these kids came in... they were just so badly hurt, just covered with singed hair and in so much pain, it was just gut-wrenching,” said David Mooney, the director of the trauma program at the Boston Children's Hospital.

He added: “Pulling nails out of a little girl's flesh is just awful.”

George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, told reporters that he had been forced to complete the “ugly job that the bomb did”.

The hospital had amputated four limbs, Dr Velmahos said, while two other patients remain “at risk”.

He said: “Some of them woke up today with no leg and they told me that they are happy to be alive. They told me they thought they would die as they saw the blood spilling out.”

The FBI has confirmed that pressure cookers may have been used in the bombings with pieces of black nylon and fragments of ball bearings and nails discovered at the scene.

FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers said it was believed that the bombs were placed in a dark-coloured backpag or bag.

Dr Velmahos said that in his professional opinion the shrapnel had originated from the bombs. He said: “My opinion is that most of them were in the bomb.”

He added that pea-sized pellets and headless nails had been recovered from victims with some people hit by up to 30 pieces of flying shrapnel.

“I think it’s unlikely they would be so consistent if they were pulled out from the environment,” Dr Velmahos told reporters outside the hospital.

Dr Ron Walls, an emergency doctor from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston added that the items were “clearly designed to be projectiles that were built into the device”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones