A team of 10 Temple University School of Podiatry students and their professor were working in the medical tent at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
The tent was about a block away from the first explosion that rocked the city.
When Temple podiatrist and professor Howard Palamarchuk heard the blast, he assumed it was an accident with a propane tank or a sound from a construction site.
“Then the second one came, and you knew right away, it was kind of like the Twin Towers, you know,” Palamarchuk said. “It was something really, really wrong.”
Palamarchuk smelled the odor of gunpowder in the air. About two minutes later, injured people flooded into the medical tent.
“At that point, it was grab all the bandages you can grab, all the gauze you can grab and start bandaging wounds,” Palamarchuk said. “Start getting people stabilized.”
The injured who were wheeled into the tent had lost a leg, or had other serious wounds to their lower extremeties.
He called the wounds he saw “horrendous.”
“But what struck me was I’ve never seen shrapnel wounds, like peppering of people’s lower extremities, you know, there were multiple puncture wounds and blackened areas,” Palamarchuk said.
Palamarchuk said the tent was controlled chaos for about an hour as doctors bandaged and stabilized the injured and moved them to the back of the tent, where ambulances took patients to the hospital.
Many of the patients were in shock, sitting quietly and staring.
This was Palamarchuk’s 28th year leading a team of students to work at the Boston Marathon.