SALINA, Kansas (AP) — A general surgeon from north-central Kansas had just finished the Boston Marathon on Monday when he found himself pressed into service treating people injured in the explosions that detonated near the finish line.
Dr. Chris Rupe, who lives in Salina, estimated he was about 10 yards from where the first explosion went off about 30 seconds after he finished the race in a time of 4 hours, 4 minutes, 23 seconds, The Salina Journal reported (http://bit.ly/ZwRkgZ ).
Believing the sound came from a building or grandstand collapsing, Rupe hurried to see if he could help.
“Then I heard the second blast and ran the other way for a little bit, but then ran back to help some of the injured,” he told the newspaper.
From there, officials directed him to a medical tent where physicians usually help runners with problems such as dehydration or exhaustion.
“Doctors are doctors, but I think they were glad to have someone who knows about treating wounds,” Rupe said.
He spent about an hour in the tent, mainly treating people with injuries to their extremities. After that, most of the injured had been taken to hospitals.
“I’d just run 26 miles; I was starting to get tired,” Rupe said. “There were a lot of great people who were there — there are a lot of good people in the world.”
His wife — Dr. Abbey Rupe, a Salina pediatrician — finished the marathon about a half-hour before her husband and was already returning to their hotel when she heard a blast about a block from the marathonroute.
“I heard one explosion, and no one knew what was happening,” Abbey Rupe told The Journal. “I kept walking, and then there was a second boom, and people were running away — I ran with everyone else for about half a block.”
Chris Rupe borrowed a cellphone from another doctor in the tent to message his wife that he was OK and helping the injured.