Meet 9 Recovering Boston Explosion Victims


The Boston marathon incident last week produced five deaths in all: the initial explosions killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, and Chinese graduate student Lu Lingzi. MIT police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed by one of the bombers. And bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at the hospital after a confrontation with police.

Six Boston medical centers report that 48 people injured by the explosions are still hospitalized, but all are expected to survive. In fact, only one of the almost 200 injured persons died in a hospital, and that was Tsarnaev. Of those surviving, more than a dozen have lost at least one limb. Many survivors face long recoveries, altered lives, and astronomical medical bills. Here are a few of their stories. 

1. Celeste and 2. Sydney Corcoran

Celeste Corcoran and her daughter Sydney were at the Boston marathon to cheer on Celeste's sister, Carmen Acabbo, in the race. Celeste, a hairdresser from Lowell, Massachusetts, was injured so badly that both her legs were amputated below the knee. Sydney, who was also seriously injured, is in the same hospital room with her mother. Friends and family set up a Facebook page to show their support for the Corcorans, and a donation page to help fund their recoveries. Sydney Corcoran turns 18 years old today, and is celebrating in the hospital. Celeste exercises, but was never into racing like her sister because she got shin splints. Now she jokes that she'll think about it for next year because she no longer has shins. Doctors are very optimistic about the Corcoran's recoveries because they both have great attitudes.

3. Ryan McMahon

Graphic designer and photographer Ryan McMahon was shooting pictures in the grandstand at the finish line of the marathon when the bombs exploded. As spectators fled, the grandstand began to sway, and McMahon fell through to the ground. Both her wrists and her back were fractured. McMahon was taken to a hospital, where she was overwhelmed by the number of other injured people brought in. McMahon left the hospital Monday with one wrist in a cast after surgery and braces on her other wrist and her back. She is expected to need about six months to recover. However, McMahon has a new goal: she intends to run the Boston marathon herself next year.  

4. Kaitlynn Cates

Kaitlynn Cates watched the marathon at the finish line with her friend Leo Fonseca, pictured, who ended up saving her life after they were both knocked down by the explosion. Fonseca held Cates down and shielded her with his body. Then he wrapped her bleeding leg and carried her to his car. Fonseca drove the wrong way down a one-way street and arrived at the hospital before the emergency staff even knew there was an explosion. Cates is grateful for his heroism, and for the care she received at Massachusetts General Hospital, an attitude that doctors say bodes well for her recovery.

5. Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Adrianne Haslet-Davis is a dance instructor at the Arthur Murray Studio in Park Plaza. She attended the marathon with her husband, Air Force Capt. Adam Davis, who is on leave after serving in Afghanistan. They were both knocked down by the second explosion. Adam Davis, despite shrapnel injuries, used his belt as a tourniquet for Adrianne's leg and helped her crawl to cover. First responders and civilians then carried them to an ambulance. Haslet-Davis did not realize the extent of her injuries until she awoke from surgery and realized her left foot had been amputated. However, Haslet-Davis is determined to return to dancing. And that's not all—she wants to run in next year's Boston marathon. A fund has been set up to help the couple with expenses.

6. Jeffrey Bauman Jr.

More people are familiar with the story of Jeffrey Bauman Jr. A photograph of his evacuation from the bombing site with help from Carlos Arredondo was broadcast globally, and graphic images of his destroyed legs were circulated online. Bauman himself was hailed as a hero because he was able to give police a description of the bomber, whom he saw drop a backpack before the explosions. Both of Bauman's legs were amputated below the knee. Bauman does not have medical insurance. An online fund has collected over $600,000 so far. A lot of the support came from Bauman's neighbors in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and his co-workers at Costco in Nashua.

7. Patrick Downes and 8. Jessica Kensky Downes

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky Downes were both injured in the Boston explosions, but the newlyweds were taken to different hospitals. Their injuries are eerily similar, in that both have lost part of their lower left legs. Jessica's right foot was also badly injured, but doctors believe it can be saved. Patrick has endured three surgeries so far. Both are in health care professions: Patrick is a graduate student at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, and Jessica is a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. And both are runners. An online fund has raised over $600,000 to help the couple through rehabilitation.

9. Marc Fucarile

Marc Fucarile of Stoneham, Massachusetts, was severely injured in the bombing, with shrapnel embedded in his heart. His right leg was amputated above the knee. And he suffered burns and broken bones. Fucarile has only recently regained consciousness at Massachusetts General Hospital. His fiancee, Jen Regan, read a statement today from Fucarile.

"The first words he said to me when he woke up were, 'I am sorry for being there. I love you and Gavin,' " Regan said, reading from a written statement. "He then proceeded to ask how his friends were, just proving how Marc is always worried about everyone else before himself."

Fucarile is pictured with his son, Gavin. A fund has been set up for Fucarile's rehabilitation at Help Marc Fucarile. Another fund has been set up to help all six Stoneham residents who were injured in the bombing.

There are plenty of other injured people who are just starting the road to recovery. The city of Boston set up a fund to help victims of the explosions, for those who wish to donate aid to whoever needs it.

Courtesy of October Films
This Scientist's Idea of the 'Perfect' Human Body Is Kind of Terrifying
Courtesy of October Films
Courtesy of October Films

The perfect human body has the legs of an ostrich, the heart of a dog, and the eyes of an octopus, according to anatomist Alice Roberts. And it’s utterly terrifying.

With the help of anatomical artist Scott Eaton and special effects designer Sangeet Prabhaker, Roberts created a life-size replica of herself that fixes many design flaws inherent to the human body, Motherboard reports. Roberts unveiled the sculpture on April 23 at the Science Museum in London. On June 13, the BBC released a documentary about the project.

Among the flaws Roberts’s sculpture corrects are humans’ inferior ears, spine, and lungs. Roberts borrowed anatomy from reptiles, birds, and other mammals to create a Frankenstein-esque creature straight from the island of Dr. Moreau.

The sculpture of Alice 2.0, left, with Alice Roberts, right
Courtesy of October Films

The sculpture has legs like an ostrich because, as Roberts says on her website, the human knee is complex and prone to failure. Like humans, ostriches are bipedal, but they are far better runners. Bird-like lungs that keep air flowing in one direction, not two, make running and other aerobic activities easier for the perfect human to manage. And a chimpanzee’s sturdier spine and a dog’s heart (which has more connected arteries, leading to lower heart attack risk) make Roberts’s alternate self more resistant to injury and disease.

Roberts’s ideal human body also has skin like a frog that can change shades based on the environment, and large, bat-like ears that amplify sound. Roberts also fixed humans’ backwards retina, which produces a natural blind spot, by borrowing from octopus eye anatomy.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the baby head poking out of the sculpture’s marsupial pouch. Roberts says marsupial pregnancy would be far easier on the human body and more convenient for parents on the go.

“This could be a human fit for the future,” Roberts says at the end of a trailer for her BBC documentary.

[h/t Motherboard]

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."


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