The Boston Marathon bombings shocked the world on Monday, but local hospitals were well prepared to treat their victims. In a piece for The New Yorker, surgeon and staff writer Atul Gawande explores how Boston hospitals were able to effectively treat scores of badly wounded people within minutes of learning of the explosions near the race's finish line. So far, all of those who were alive when rescued have survived — a tribute to how much hospitals have learned about responding to terrorist attacks since the events of September 11, 2001. Hospitals overhauled their disaster-response plans to prepare for terrorist attacks, and after a decade of war, an increasing number of operating rooms are staffed by doctors and nurses with battlefield experience.
"A decade earlier, nothing approaching their level of collaboration and efficiency would have occurred," Gawande writes. "We have, as one colleague put it to me, replaced our pre-9/11 naïveté with post-9/11 sobriety. Where before we’d have been struck dumb with shock about such events, now we are almost calculating about them."