A New Jersey doctor who was at the Boston Marathon to help treat fatigued runners suddenly turned into a first responder when a pair of blasts went off near the finish line, sending scores of injured people into his medical tent.
"We heard the explosion. We saw the plume of white smoke begin to rise," said Dr. Martin Levine from Bayonne. "I turned into the tent reflexively and said, 'Make room. Get rid of everyone that can leave. We're going to have casualties.'"
Levine was aiding elite runners with recovery near the finish line, but when the explosions went off on Boylston Street, he rushed toward the wounded. The injuries he described sound like those from a war zone.
"There was blood everywhere," Levine told NBC 4 New York while in Boston Monday. "And the most striking thing was that either their feet, their legs, or parts of their legs were missing or extremely gouged. There were huge open wounds in the backs of people's legs."
Martin said he saw more than 20 casualties near the first explosion site, all with wounds below the waist. He wasn't sure if they were caused by shrapnel, but to him, it seemed like something was packed in the explosives.
"The muscle mass in the backs of everyone's legs was literally cut as deep as it could go, or the leg was severed at that spot," he said.
Levine and other volunteers had to use the lanyards from their credentials to tie tourniquets. They witnessed both explosions but ran toward the wounded anyway.
"There was a thought that, 'There is a second bomb. Was there going to be a third?'" he said. "But you don't stop. You can't stop."
At least eight Boston hospitals were treating the more than 100 victims from the blasts, according to the Associated Press. Dr. Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, where at least 29 victims were being treated, said, "This is something I've never seen in my 25 years here... this amount of carnage in the civilian population."