Doctor Who Treated Boston Marathon Blast Injuries Recovering

Dr. Howard Palamarchuk's annual class "field trip" to the marathon went from nursing blisters to triage when the bombs went off

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Medical personnel work outside the medical tent in the aftermath of two blasts which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    One week after the Boston Marathon bombings, Dr. Howard Palamarchuk is working to get back to whatever normal is and getting ready to go back to work.

    "It's been a long week, that's for sure," Palamarchuk said from his home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

    Palamarchuk was just a shout away from the finish line last Monday with a group of his students from the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. The trek is a tradition that he's led for 28 years.

    "Usually, we take care of problems -- ankle problems, blister control. That's about as bad as it gets," he said last week, a few hours after his medical tent became a war-like triage tent.

    Palamarchuk said no one expected the horrendous injuries that came their way that day. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. It was like war."

    The doctor went back home to an already-planned vacation. He feels like he is doing better after such a traumatic day, than some of his students. He made sure they all got home last Monday night and spent time talking to some by phone. Then the school asked him to come spend some time with them in person two days after the bombings.

    "They weren't doing good. You could see it in their faces. They went right back to work and that might not have been the best thing because everyone was asking them about what happened." Palamarchuk said the students are all being counseled.

    Palamarchuk counted more on the comfort of routine, and family for his own mental recovery. He kept trying to push through chores and projects he had around the house, but admits it was a bit hard at times -- the pull of around-the-clock coverage was strong.

    "That whole thing was like a movie. You just couldn't stop watching it play out," he said.

    Palamarchuk said he is not worried too much at the moment about the long-term effects of what he saw last Monday.

    "I have a good family. Good support. My kids are my therapy."

    He'll be back at work this week and next year, he'll be back near the finish line at another Boston marathon, on blister patrol for the 29th year.

    "Yes, absolutely. I'll go," he said. Palamarchuk said he had a similar experience after 9/11 when he worked the medical tent at the annual Marine Corps Marathon.

    "The Pentagon was still smoking and the race went on," he said.

    "You go back, you don't run away from things. Next year will be another year, another beautiful day. And this could happen anywhere."