In a recent post on The Boston Globe's White Coat Notes blog, reporter Liz Kowalczyk delves deeper into her recent story on how Boston hospitals responded to the Marathon bombing by underscoring similar challenges by one local hospital following the Cocoanut Grove Fire in 1942. More than 490 people died in the Boston fire, which is considered the second deadliest nightclub/public assembly fire in U.S. history.
As described on NFPA's Cocoanut Grove Coalition website, which was launched last year to commemorate the fire's 70th anniversary, Massachusetts General Hospital had already developed a disaster plan for such emergencies following the Pearl Harbor attacks a year earlier. The first patient arrived by 10:30 p.m. the night of the fire, and within 45 minutes, a comprehensive team of doctors, nurses, and social workers was assembled.
Similarly, as Kowalczyk reports, Boston hospitals and trauma centers worked rapidly following the bombings. While lessons have been learned, she notes that "not a single patient died after reaching a hospital."