The Boston Marathon Bombing’s Inflated Injury Tallies

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Exactly how many people were injured as a result of the April 15 Boston Marathon Bombing (BMB)? An official tally from the Boston Public Health Commission puts the number at an incredible 282 injured and four killed, including MIT police officer Sean Collier. “Only two patients wounded in the Boston Marathon bombings remained in critical condition” on April 22, the Boston Globereported, “but the count of injured people who were treated in area hospitals has risen sharply to 282, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. That is far higher than the initial estimate of 170.”

According to the Globe,

The number rose because dozens of victims delayed seeking medical care for minor wounds or symptoms that they thought would go away on their own, said Nick Martin, a spokesman for the health commission. He said the latest data … show patients were seen at 27 hospitals in Greater Boston.

The threshold for allegedly having sustained a bomb-related injury is not high.

“One of the best examples is hearing issues,” Martin said. “People might have first thought their hearing problems would be temporary.” Instead, hearing loss or continuous ringing or buzzing in their ears remained. Others sought delayed care for minor shrapnel wounds.[1]

On the same day Reuters reported 264 people injured.[2] Each of the exorbitant figures trumpeted by these organs differs sharply with the tallies provided by the New York Times-owned Boston Globe and listed on the popular Globe-owned website Boston.com. Here one finds only 55 victims out of the purported 268 (Reuters) or 286 (City of Boston and Boston Globe) injured and deceased.

“This is a list of confirmed deceased and injured victims of the Marathon explosions and their aftermath,” the website reads.

“We will continue to update this list. If you have some information, please click here … If you would like to donate to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, please visit onefundboston.org.

The 55 victims listed on Boston.com are categorized below by name, age, hometown, injury description, and the news source where initial reportage of their injuries or deaths appeared.[3]


 

Name
Age
Hometown
Injury
News Source
Krystle Campbell
29
Arlington
Fatal injury
Martin William
8
Dorchester
Fatal injury
Lingzi Lu
23
China
Fatal injury
Sean Collier
26
Wilmington
Fatal injury
Sydney Corcoran
17
Lowell, Lowell High School Senior [sic]
-
Richard H. Donohue Jr.
33
Woburn
Severe injury
Kaitlynn Cates
25
Boston
Severe leg injury
Heather Abbott
38
Newport, R.I.
Severe leg injury
Jeff Bauman Jr.
27
Chelmsford
Severe leg injury [sic]
Roseann Sdoia
45
Dracut
Severe leg injury
David Yepez
15
Andover
Head and arm injuries
Jarrod Clowery
35
Stoneham
Hearing loss, leg injuries
Aaron Hern
11
Martinez, Calif.
Leg injury
Remy Lawler
25
Amesbury
Upper leg injuries
JP Norden
31
Wakefield
Severe leg injury
Paul Norden
33
Stoneham
Severe leg injury
Beth Rothe
59
Highland, Ind.
Severe leg injury
Marc Fucarile
34
Stoneham
Severe leg, chest injuries
Michelle Connolly
52
South Boston
Head injuries
Nicholas Yanni
32
Boston
Temporary hearing loss
Ascer Barlatier
35
Boston
Wounded in chest and leg
Jenny Chung
-
-
Shrapnel wounds
Dan Soleau
36
-
Hearing loss
Unidentified female
9
-
Severe leg injury
Zhou Danling
-
China
Chinese student studying actuarial sciences [sic]
Gillian Reny
17
Boston
Senior at Buckingham Brown & Nichols School in Cambridge [sic]
Marilyn Kight
63
Redding, Calif.
Severe leg injury
Erika Brannock
NA
Towson, Md.
Severe leg injury
Darrel Folkert
42
Redondo Beach, Calif.
Leg injuries
Unidentified male
5
-
No longer in critical condition, severe injuries,
Celeste Corcoran,
47
Lowell, Sydney’s mother
Severe leg injury
Denise Richard
-
Dorchester
Severe upper body injury, Martin Richard’s mother [sic]
Jane Richard
7
Dorchester
Severe leg injury, Martin Richard’s sister [sic]
Lee Ann Yanni
31
-
Severe leg injury
John Odom
NA
-
-
J.P. Craven
24
Hingham
Head injuries
Patrick Downes
30
Cambridge, BC alumnus [sic]
Severe leg injuries
Jessica Downes
32
MGH nurse [sic]
Severe leg injuries
Brittany Loring
29
Ayer Boston College JD/MBA student
Severe head, leg and arm injuries
Liza Cherney
-
Boston College MBA student was a spectator [sic]
 -
Jacqui Webb
-
-
Severe leg injury
Ryan C. McMahon
33
Longmeadow
Back and arm injuries
William White
-
Bolton
Severe leg injury
Mary Jo White
-
Bolton
Hand injury
Kevin White
-
Bolton
Moderate injuries [sic]
Nicole Gross
31
Charlotte, N.C.
Leg injuries
Michael Gross
38
Charlotte, N.C.
Head injuries
Eric Whalley
65
Charlestown
Severe head injury, other wounds
Ann Whalley
65
Charlestown
Severe flesh wounds
Kevin Corcoran
-
Lowell, Sydney’s father [sic]
Minor injuries
Denise Spenard
-
Manchester, N.H.
Abdominal injury
Victoria McGrath
20
Northeastern student
Severe leg injuries
Sarah Girouard,
20
Falmouth, Maine
Injuries to lower extremities, received surgery
Michelle L’Heureux
NA
Quincy
Severe arm and leg injuries

 


As indicated in the above table, The Boston Globe and Boston.com are responsible for the initial and in many cases only reportage on 37 of the 55 victims, with Boston.com otherwise referring readers to either Boston College’s website, eight local or regional newspapers’ sites, and in one instance a donation page, for information on the remaining 18 injured.

The 231 added to the overall City of Boston count of April 23 appear to be phantom victims who might have sought care for modest injuries in the week following the incident but for which no records have been made publicly available. Even Boston.com’s list of 55 has numerous informational gaps. For example, eleven of the 55 have no age recorded, an especially glaring oversight for medical authorities administering care, while five have no injury listed.

Boston.com provides an online form for victims to submit a description of their injuries and the hospital where they are being treated. When I contacted Boston Globe newsroom via telephone on May 11, 2013 to clarify why the injury list had not been updated in accord with the City of Boston’s figures, or whether entire names and injury descriptions might still remain unpublished, a reporter identifying herself as Mary Covlu responded that the website “is just for people with serious injuries.” When I inquired whether “temporary hearing loss,” listed as the medical condition of 32-year old Nicholas Yanni of Boston could be considered a “serious injury,” the reporter expressed astonishment and could not respond.

Repeated email inquiries by Memory Hole to Boston Globe’s chief and associate editors asking whether the newspapers have obtained autopsies or death certificates for the four decedents remain unanswered.

If temporary hearing loss can indeed be counted as a demonstrable injury and the figures provided by Boston’s Commission on Public Health are comprised primarily of those complaining of such minor problems, then roughly eighty percent of the BMB-related injuries might be negligible.

The 264/282 figures stand in even greater contrast with the original injury count in the immediate wake of the BMB, which was reported as a much less sensational 23 injured and two deaths—figures in rough accord with the number of individuals whose images were recorded on CCTV and surveillance cameras involved in and around the initial blast that exhibited ostensible injuries.

This estimate of injured also conforms with arguably excessive eyewitness accounts, such as those of Roupen Bastajian, an off-duty Rhode Island State Trooper who told the Associated Press that he just completed the race when he heard the first detonation. “I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor,” Bastajian recalls. “We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. … At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”[4]

Early reports lend further credence to the event’s drill-like qualities, with acknowledgment from “a senior U.S. intelligence official” who said “on condition of anonymity” that “two other explosive devices found nearby were being dismantled.” According to the AP,

A third explosion was heard about an hour after the first two after authorities warned spectators to expect a loud noise from a water cannon that police apparently were using to destroy one of the devices.[5]

This account closely conforms with reports in alternative media outlets that drills were being carried out around the Marathon.

In sum, the photos, videos, stories and figures comprising the mediated BMB do not add up and suggest elements of a manufactured event. The inflated injury count provided by the City of Boston is not readily supported by existing visual documentation of the two bombings, where at most several dozen individuals may have been seriously impacted. Nor are the calculations supported by the information made publicly available through the primary news outlet reporting on the event.

The Boston Globe has played an inordinately powerful and arguably suspect role in framing the BMB narrative. The outlet’s distribution of information concerning victims—information that remains inconsistent or sorely lacking in important details–clearly diverges from the dubious and unusually high “official” casualty counts so heavily propagated in corporate media.

Notes

[1] Deborah Kotz, “Injury Toll From Marathon BombingRises,” Boston Globe, April 23, 2013.

[2] “Boston Officials Say 264 Injured in Boston Marathon,” Reuters, April 23, 2013.

[3] “Victims of the Marathon Bombings,” Boston.com, n.d. Accessed on May 11, 2013.

[4] “RI State Trooper at Boston Marathon Says Blast Tore Limbs Off Dozens,” Associated Press/Providence Journal, April 15, 2013.[5] Ibid.


About the author:

James Tracy is an educator located in South Florida. His work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. Tracy is also an affiliate of Project Censored. Additional analyses and commentaries are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

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