Turning chaos into courage, doctor speaks about personal experience during Boston Marathon bombing


BETTENDORF, Ia. (KWQC)- Nebraska native and doctor, Natalie Stavas, said she’s been a runner for as long as she can remember. The Harvard alumni made a goal to run the Boston Marathon each year that she was in residency studying to become a pediatrician.

“I set this goal to run the Boston marathon every single year that I was a resident and I set this goal because I knew for me that being active and staying active in general would keep me grounded and efficient and focused.”

In 2013 Stavas broke her foot and was advised by her doctor not to run that year’s Boston Marathon. Stavas disregarded her doctor’s recommendation and chose to run the race anyway.

“I was running 45 minutes slower than my normal time because I had a broken foot that was still healing.”

Stavas raced that year with her father and despite the slower time was determined to finish the race.

“I was just about to finish the race I was about 800 meters away when we heard the explosions and we didn’t really know what they were what they meant and we didn’t know if it was a planned explosion, if they were fireworks and then it became very clear that people were wounded at the finish line.”

Stavas then “ran towards the chaos” and immediately jumped into action to help.

“I treated four people that day doing CPR, applying tourniquets, packing wounds and triaging people and of the four that I personally encountered and worked with three survived that day.”

Dr. Stavas now practices medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and is a Pediatric Instructor at Harvard. She also motivates others from around the country to find courage during chaotic situations. Friday Stavas spoke to a group of medical professionals at the Genesis Trauma Conference. She urged the group to find ways in which they can help others, regardless of how horrific the situation may be.



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