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Boston hospital staff looks back on Marathon Day

"Bridge year." That was the term to describe the rebuilding process of the 2013 Boston Red Sox. It was to be a group of complementary players, no real stars, who were put in place just long enough until the "kids on the farm" were ready for the big leagues.

A funny thing happened on the way to October, though. Those complementary players not only became a team -- they ended the year as the best team.

So what goes into building a successful team? Not just a sports team, any team. Is it having the right mix of high performers and role players?

This question can make for an interesting sports radio debate, but when it comes to building the right team for an emergency department ... well, that is a matter of life and death.

For the Red Sox, they know they will be tested when playing division rivals or in the postseason. But for the staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the calendar is not as useful a tool when it comes to knowing when their next test will come.

"All I could hear was yelling on the radio. Couldn't really understand any words that were being said. And that's when I knew this was real," said Dan Nadworny, a nurse at BIDMC on the day he heard the yelling -- Marathon Monday, 2013.

All hands were on deck. Nurse manager Alison Small looked around and saw six nurses come in on their day off on their own accord. A support service team member started readying 100 stretchers, taking breaks only to clean blood from the floor. A tech with an Army background rolled himself under parked ambulances looking for possible explosives.

Coaches often inform players to worry more about the name on the front of the uniform than the one on the back. On this day, cardiologists became note takers, radiology techs helped out with food services.

"Everybody came in and left their ego at the door and did the thing that they were asked to do," incident commander Marsha Maurer said.

The 2013 Red Sox will be remembered as a team that overcame obstacles (losing two closers in the early part of the season) and performed consistently (their longest losing streak was only three games). The same can be said for the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox, the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Only there, the results of a poor outing can be much more dire.

The events of that day will always stay with the staff of BIDMC. Feelings of sorrow for the pain patients suffered will forever compete with the pride of knowing that their actions not only saved limbs ... they saved lives.

"People understood their job here was to care for patients," Maurer said. "Care for them physically, but care for them mentally, and that was people's first instinct; to protect their patients. It felt to me like we were put to the test to live our values, and we did."

Jay Dobek is a contributor to The BID Injury Report is a regular column on Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the official hospital of The Boston Red Sox.
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