Mainer who offered medical help at marathon finish line shares story

2:38 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After we saw the images of the explosions at the Boston Marathon Monday, we saw countless other images of spectators, runners, and total strangers helping each other in the scene of chaos.

As CNN showed video of one man treating a woman with leg injuries on the ground, some Mainers recognized him as Robert Parisien, a football player from Biddeford, winner of the Fitzpatrick award in 1999.

Now a medical student in the Maine track at Maine Medical Center for Tufts, Parisien found himself in the middle of the bombings on Boylston Street.

"It was a tidal wave of people, just coming right at you," said Parisien. "Screaming, yelling, terror on their faces."

Even though he wasn't sure if there would be more bombings, he said his own safety wasn't a concern.

"This is an environment right now that I can't control," said Parisien. "So my first instinct was to get in a competitive stance, tried to steady myself, and thought, 'How can I control my environment?'"

When he saw a woman lying on the ground with sharpnel in her legs, his years of medical school never seemed so important.

He said he crouched down, looked her in the eyes, and tried to reassure her she would be alright.

He evaluated her injuries, applied pressure to her wounds, and stayed with her until the moment she was taken away on a stretcher.

It was a moment captured on national television. But what CNN didn't show was Parisien calling his friends in Boston hospitals, trying to track her down.

After he was able to check in on her condition, Parisien made another trip back to Boston to visit her in the hospital.

"Meeting her in the hospital was incredible," he said. "One of the most powerful things about it was this unspoken common bond that we had from being in this experience together."

It was an experience, he said, that proved out of chaos can come remarkable acts of kindness and compassion.

"It was almost like seeing the two different sides of the human conditoin at the same time," said Parisien.

"You see the epitome of evil withthese terrorists who set this bomb off -- and then immediately followed by it is the best in humanity: strangers coming together, for one reason, and one reason only. Because they needed the help."

After graduating from Tufts Medical School this year, Parisien will begin his residency at Boston Medical Center for orthopedic surgery.


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