Skip to contents
In This Issue:
The BWH community responded last Friday to a tragic accident in the neighborhood involving a Boston fire truck, offering support both at the scene and in the Emergency Department.
“The ED has a close connection to the emergency response system in the community,” said nurse manager Heidi Crim, RN, who was working in the ED at the time of the fatal accident a few blocks away at a Huntington Avenue apartment complex. “There’s a kindred spirit among us because we’re working together with the same goal in mind: keeping people safe and taking care of them.”
Michael Ferchak, RN, of the Float Pool, who was on his way to the hospital for his 3 p.m. shift and witnessed the accident, did exactly that. He rushed into the apartment building to help rescue firefighters trapped in the truck. Ferchak was honored by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Tuesday night during the State of the City address for his heroic response.
“Boston is more than a city of neighborhoods. We are a city of neighbors,” Menino said. “Just look at Michael Ferchak. He’s the nurse who rushed to the aid of firefighters last Friday. He doesn’t think he’s a hero. On behalf of the city of Boston, thank you.”
At the hospital, staff in the ED, Psychiatry, Chaplaincy, Social Work, Security and other departments worked together to support those who needed it in the ED and on site at the Mission Park complex, which is operated by the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH).
“This wasn’t just a local disaster,” said David Gitlin, MD, of Psychiatry. “We have a real partnership with RTH, and we wanted to help as much as possible.”
Gitlin and fellow psychiatrists, chaplains and social workers headed to the scene. One social worker met with a group of children who were in the library day care center and witnessed the accident. Individual and group interventions were offered to building residents, RTH administration and the EMTs and Security personnel who witnessed the crash. BWH Security helped secure the scene and assisted the security team at Mission Park.
One firefighter was taken to the BWH ED, where physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains ensured the best physical and emotional care possible for the patient and family members and fellow firefighters. In addition, six other people who had witnessed the accident came to the ED for counseling.
“We offered significant emotional support to these firefighters, emergency responders, families and staff here,” Crim said. “When something happens to emergency responders, we really feel the emotional effects of it. We owe it to them to help in any way we can.”
Kathleen Gallivan, PhD, director of Chaplaincy, praised the quick response of staff. “Some stayed late to continue uninterrupted chaplaincy support throughout the hospital,” she said. “I was proud of the swift and extended support the hospital offered in response to this tragedy.”
As the effects of the crash continue to have an emotional impact on witnesses, BWH Psychiatry is offering ongoing support to the residents of Mission Park.