The investigation presses on. A city and a nation continue to mourn. And, slowly, Boston is getting back to normal. But in the hospitals, where brave surgeons were ready for dramatic surgeries and where there was more good news on Wednesday, there remains one 27-year-old victim of last week's marathon bombings who stands out: Jeff Bauman, who transformed from cheering boyfriend to iconic amputee. And Jeff Bauman, a city and a nation will be happy to hear and see, is well on the road to recovery. Here's an update from the man who's not quite a microcosm, but who will left up your spirits nonetheless:
Jeff Is Still in Recovery — and He Met with His Cowboy Hero!
Bauman remains at Boston Medical Center — his amputations were both below the knee — but he's had his share of visitors. One of them is Carlos Arrendondo, the man in the cowboy hat in that indelible AP photo last Monday, gripping the shredded remains of one of Bauman's arteries. Arrendondo visited him on Monday, The Concord Monitor reports. "I was so happy to see him with his big open-wide eyes and very grateful to be able to hug him and let him know how proud I am of him," Arrendondo said. The paper adds:
When he saw the extent of Bauman’s injuries and the rapid loss of blood, he knew Bauman needed his help the most. He ripped up a sweater and used it to try to stop the bleeding from Bauman’s legs and immediately got the attention of a woman with a wheelchair. He placed Bauman in the chair and began pushing, but the fabric he used as bandages kept getting caught in the wheels ...
“The picture that you see, that’s what it is and that's how it happened, you know,” he said. “I was just trying to help him in every way I could, and thank God he gave me the opportunity to help this beautiful young man.”
Jeff's Hospital Costs Are Getting Crowdsourced — and We're Getting There!
Enough about the very ugly side of Boston crowdsourcing, people: You've raised over $650,000 in Bauman's honor over at Bucks for Bauman. And those dollars will help him get back on track. As The Boston Globe reports, Bauman, who works the deli counter at Costco, has employer-sponsored health insurance to cover his gigantic medical bills — and the wholesale giant "is also matching donations made by colleagues at the chain's Nashua location."
But Costco might not be to cover Bauman's full medical bills, the final total of which remains unclear at this point in his recovery, but his prosthetics won't come cheap. Think Progress reports:
Prosthetics can cost up to $45,000 for adults and over $100,000 for children, who need to get them replaced several times as they continue to grow. Rehabilitation treatments for those who have lost limbs can run up $200 per hour. And even for those who were less seriously injured, the emergency room care they received in the immediate aftermath of the explosions could easily top $40,000.
The final cost of treating the Boston victims' injuries, according to Think Progress, will be around $9 million. As The New York Times reports, the One Fund Boston charity is moving fast to support other victims. The organizers of Bauman's fundraising drive have capped the total they're seeking at $1 million, meaning Bauman is about $350,000 away from his supporters' goal. Indeed, there are many victim fundraising efforts raising many different levels of donations — here's a breakdown from The Atlantic Wire's Philip Bump. A similar fundraiser for two other victims, 18-year-old Sydney Corcoran and her mother, Celeste, has raised about as much with $630,720.
Jeff Is Making Friends — and the Victims Are Preparing for a Long Haul
Oh, and about Sydney: She turned 18 on Tuesday, when Bauman paid her a visit down the hall at Boston Medical Center, where they're all undergoing recovery work. Sydney had her femoral artery severed in the blast and recently "took her first steps since the blast," Sydney's uncle told the Los Angeles Times.
On the day of the attack, Sydney was at the marathon with her mother. They were both cheering on Sydney's aunt. Celeste lost both her legs in the attack and had them amputated below the knee: "I can't do anything right now," Celeste told the L.A. Times, before a joke as dark and honest as it is strangely uplifting: "Running's never been my thing because I always get the most horrible shin splints," Celeste told the paper. "So I was like, hey, I don't even have shins anymore — I'm not going to get any shin splints!"
The stories from Bauman and the Corcorans are perhaps some of the most shared and hopeful tales of recovery in Boston right now, but they're going to have tough journeys ahead of themselves. "Unfortunately, reconstruction is still just the start of the long road to recovery for these patients. For those that have surgeries without complications, they will still need to heal their wounds and start the lengthy rehabilitative process with physical and occupational therapy," Eric Bluman, an MD PhD with experience (like many other Boston doctors helping victims recover) in Iraq, says in a release by the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. "Many will suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder even after their wounds have healed and their physical function improves."
Jeff Is a Hero — and Don't You Forget It
If you're not familiar with the Bauman family, go read Tim Rohan's profile in The New York Times again. But surely we're all far too familiar with the Tsarnaev family by now. But remember: Bauman played a role in identifying the suspects, even while he was intensive care. Bauman, as Bloomberg reported in the grisly aftermath of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture Friday night, helped identify a man in "a cap, sunglasses and a black jacket over a hooded sweatshirt" — the suspect we now know today as Tamerlan Tsarnaev. While its unclear if the FBI consulted any of Bauman's fellow victims, it is clear that his ID'ing Tamerlan helped the FBI's frenzied investigation.
...and Don't Forget That He Is Just One of 264 of the Injured in Recovery
"[I]t now appears that every one of the wounded alive when rescuers reached them will survive," The New Yorker's Atul Gawande triumphantly reported last Wednesday. And this Wednesday, that appears to be coming true. Though health officials have revised the number injured in the Boston bombings to 264, the fatalities from the bombing remained at three. "About 48 people remained hospitalized as of Monday," reported Reuters, citing Boston health officials. And the AP adds, "The only person to reach a hospital alive and then die was one of the suspected bombers — 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev." Their breakdown looks like this:
As of Monday, 51 people remained hospitalized, three of them in critical condition and five listed as serious. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb; three of them lost more than one.
Two children with leg injuries remain hospitalized at Boston Children's Hospital. A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition and 11-year-old Aaron Hern of Martinez, Calif., is in fair condition.
The surviving bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with a neck wound.
"I am absolutely certain that next year's Boston Marathon will be bigger, more spectacular and attended by more people than ever," Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday, at the memorial service for MIT police officer Sean Collier, who died last Thursday night.