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How First Responders Handle Trauma Experienced in Boston Bombings

(AP Photo/WBZ-TV)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — Boston continues to heal from the wounds of Marathon Day Monday.

Besides the injured, first responders will forever remember the horrific events that unfolded.

Steve McHugh was in the medical tent at the finish line. “We were talking with runners on the cots when the two booms went off, one after another,” says McHugh.

The scene McHugh says looked like a war zone. “It was like a firehose of burns, mutilated people screaming, crying, mothers, children, people you couldn’t tell who they were because they were disfigured so badly,” he says.

First responders will never forget the horror of what they see at such events.

Mark Elin is a clinical neuropsychologist at Baystate Medical Center.

“The memories tend to linger on and memories are something that become imbedded not only immediately, they’re like flash bulb experiences that become encoded in people’s minds,” says Elin.

So how do you heal? How do you move on after you experience traumatic events like the shootings in Newtown and the Boston Marathon Day bombings?

“I feel if needed that you seek the help of professionals, of clergy, of people who are important to you in your life and you don’t live with these events so low and in isolation of the enormity of how it’s affected your life,” says Elin.

And that long process of healing is just beginning for those who helped the injured.

Elin was one of the speakers at a conference in Holyoke sponsored by Baystate Health and the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.




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