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Univ. Of Md. Doctor Says Boston Marathon Injuries Similar To Those In War Zone

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BOSTON (WJZ) — Hundreds continue to recover from serious injuries after being hurt in the Boston Marathon bombing.

From amputated limbs to severe burns, dozens of surgeries are underway to help victims recover.

Rochelle Ritchie explains a University of Maryland doctor compares the injuries to something in a war zone.

The explosion that killed three people and injured nearly 150 others is being compared to an attack you might see in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It’s the explosion that rocked the Boston Marathon as thousands of spectators and runners made their way to the finish line–including Dr. Wade Gaach–an EMS medical doctor for the Baltimore City Fire Department, who had just finished the race.

“It felt like a starting cannon at other races I have done,” he said.

Shattered glass, sharp nails and other debris flew with high energy from the force of the explosion–severing limbs so badly–some have had to be amputated. Like the leg of Erika Brannock, a Towson preschool teacher at the race with family to cheer on her mother.

“The types of injuries they’re seeing in Boston are reportedly very similar to what came out of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Dr. Andrew Pollack, University of Maryland orthopedic surgeon.

Pollack says explosives such as the ones used on Monday are often filled with nails, ball bearings and sharp pieces of metal designed to cause severe injuries–similar to an IED.

Debris from the blast is also a concern for his colleagues in Boston, as it can cause infection quickly or down the road.

“It’s difficult and in fact impossible at times to do a thorough debris mod to remove everything that needs to be removed at the time of the first operation,” Pollack said.

Gaach says even with more than 20 years in emergency medicine, the shock is still alive.

“You learn to compartmentalize a lot of it, but yeah, I’m not going to forget it,” he said.

More than 100 people were left injured, three others dead. The tragedies often seen overseas are now a reality on U.S. soil.

Depending on the severity of the injuries, some patients could undergo several surgeries. Recovery could last for nearly two years.

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