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Medical lessons learned on battlefield may help after Boston Marathon

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Medicine and the Army also have made advances in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder through a variety of therapies, Levandowski said. These include ways of mastering emotions and thoughts that are associated with the trauma.

Louisiana National Guard Staff Sgt. Steven W. Williams, 40, of Denham Springs, La., suffered a severe back injury while serving in Iraq and deals with post-traumatic stress disorder. He lives in El Paso and has been getting treatment through the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bliss.

At a glance

5-year-old among Boston Medical blast patients

The trauma surgery chief at Boston Medical Center says a 5-year-old is among the 19 patients still being treated there for injures received during the marathon bombings and that all are expected to survive.

Dr. Peter Burke said Wednesday morning that the hospital treated 23 people following the blasts. He said two patients, including the 5-year-old, remain critical, but that all patients are making progress.

“We have a lot of lower extremity injuries, so I think the damage was low to the ground and wasn’t up,” he said. “The patients who do have head injuries were blown into things or were hit by fragments that went up.”

Dozens of patients have been released from hospitals around the Boston area.

Massachusetts General Hospital spokeswoman Katie Marquedant said all but 12 of the 31 people sent there have been released. Eight are still in critical condition.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital still has 15 of its original 31 patients, and reported that five are in critical condition. A spokesman there could not say how many patients had been released and how many had been transferred to other facilities.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center still has 13 of the 24 people originally sent there. Boston Children’s Hospital has released seven of its original 10 patient. The three remaining are all children. A 2-year-old boy with a head injury is in good condition; a 10-year-old boy with multiple leg injuries is in critical condition and a 9-year-old girl with a leg injury also is in critical condition.

Tufts Medical Center has released half of its 14 bombing patients.

There were 27 patients who were treated and released from St. Elizabeth’s, Carney Hospital, and Norwood Hospital.

— The Associated Press

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Like many Americans, Williams said he had a hard time processing what he saw during the Boston Marathon.

"First thing I thought of, we train for those kind of situations," Williams said. "It was unique to see it on American soil. It’s kind of a shock. We knew it would happen again (after 9/11) but we didn’t know when, where or how."

Those who were injured can expect their recovery to be slow and tedious, Williams said.

The injured and emergency responders also should seek some form of counseling sooner rather than later, Williams advised, to lessen future problems.

David Burge is a reporter for the El Paso Times

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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