Homeland Security Program graduate put knowledge to use during marathon bombing

July 27, 2015

When Charlotte Palmer Roy graduated from Penn State College of Medicine’s graduate program in homeland security in 2012, she had no idea her new found knowledge would be put to the ultimate test just one year later during the Boston Marathon bombing. Palmer Roy is the emergency management coordinator at Newton-Wellesley Hospital outside Boston.

Every year the marathon route runs past the hospital, at mile 17, and it’s Palmer Roy’s job to prepare the staff and facility for the usual influx of race-related injuries and illnesses.

As Palmer Roy recalls, the day of the horrific event — Monday, April 15, 2013 — started out relatively uneventful. At 2:49 p.m., when the bombs detonated near the finish line, her emergency operations center team was getting ready to close up shop.

Instead of heading home for the day, the team braced for the emergency.

Newton-Wellesley is not a trauma facility, so the hospital didn’t receive bombing victims. But the threat of secondary devices meant runners needed to get off the race route as soon as possible, so Palmer Roy’s team set up respite areas in the hospital. A few hours later, the runners were moved to Newton City Hall and then bussed back to the finish line in Boston.

Throughout it all, Palmer Roy said, hospital staff anxiously awaited news of co-workers and loved ones participating in and working at the race.

Read more of Palmer Roy’s first-hand account in this Penn State Medicine article.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 27, 2015