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Nurses reflect on day’s suffering


– The cries of bloody marathon bombing victims still haunt the nurses who treated them a week ago. They put their own fears in a box during their 12-hour shifts so they could better comfort their patients.

Nurses from Massachusetts General Hospital, which treated 22 of the 187 victims the first day, candidly recounted their experiences in interviews with The Associated Press. Here are their memories:

Megann Prevatt , ER nurse : “These patients were terrified. They were screaming. They were crying. … We had to fight back our own fears, hold their hands as we were wrapping their legs, hold their hands while we were putting IVs in and starting blood on them, just try to reassure them: ‘We don’t know what happened, but you’re here. You’re safe with us.’ …

“I didn’t know if there were going to be more bombs exploding. I didn’t know how many patients we’d be getting. All these thoughts are racing through your mind.”

Adam Barrett , ICU nurse, cleaned shrapnel and nails from the wounds of some victims, side by side with law enforcement investigators who wanted to examine wounds for blast patterns.

“It was kind of hard to hear somebody say, ‘Don’t wash that wound. You might wash evidence away.’ ”

The request took him aback. “I wasn’t stopping to think, ‘What could be in this wound that could give him a lead?’ ”

Jean Acquadra, ICU nurse, keeps herself going by thinking of her patients’ progress.

“The strength is seeing their faces, their smiles, knowing they’re getting better. They may have lost a limb, but they’re ready to go on with their lives. They want to live. I don’t know how they have the strength, but that’s my reward: Knowing they’re getting better.”

She doesn’t think she could take care of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a patient at another hospital.

“I don’t have any words for him,” she said.