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Boston bombings: Officer lost all blood but is expected to recover

April 21, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
(Uncredited, AP )

BOSTON -- A Boston officer shot and wounded in pursuit of the marathon bombing suspects last week had to be resuscitated after his heart stopped and he lost his entire blood supply, but doctors and relatives on Sunday said he was emerging from sedation and expected to recover.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Officer Richard “Dick” Donohue Jr., 33, of Woburn, Mass., had served with the department for three years when he responded to a call Friday for assistance after a shooting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, officials said. They said it was not clear whether Donohue knew at the time that the MIT officer who had been shot and killed was a friend of his, Sean Collier.

Donohue emerged from his police car and exchanged fire with the suspects before he was shot in the right thigh, officials said. A bullet severed his femoral vein and artery, and Donohue began to bleed out, doctors said.

“CPR was started in the field, and he required a prolonged resuscitation that started at the scene and at our emergency room,” said Dr. David Miller, a critical care doctor at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, during a Sunday briefing at the hospital.

Donohue had lost all of his own blood, but doctors were able to give him transfusions to replace it. Miller said a surgical team was then able to stop the bleeding and save Donohue’s leg. The officer remained in the ICU Sunday on a ventilator, in stable but critical condition and unable to talk, although he wiggled his toes and squeezed fingers.

“He continues to need high levels of sedation,” Miller said.

He said doctors were “cautiously optimistic” that Donohue would make a full recovery.

Dr. Russell Nauta, a Mt. Auburn surgeon, said that during CPR, Donohue’s heart stopped and it took more than 45 minutes to restore his pulse, but that he should be able to recover and walk again.

Edward Donohue, the officer’s younger brother and a patrolman with the Winchester, Mass., police department,  said he has been at his brother’s bedside with the rest of the family, including his sister-in-law, Kim, and the couple’s 6-month-old son, Richie.

“As a brother, fellow officer and American, I cannot describe the pride I felt in what Dick and other officers did that Friday morning,” he said, describing the scene as“like a war zone.”

“Signs are positive and we are hoping for a speedy recovery,” he said.

He said his brother, a graduate of Winchester High School and the Virginia Military Academy, worked in the Boston hotel industry, including at the Omni Parker House Hotel on the north side of Boston Common, before finding his true calling as a police officer.

“He loves being a cop — we were just talking the week before about how much he loves the job,” Donohue said.

He also spoke to those who would attack his brother and fellow officers:“To our enemies: we will persevere and we will fight because we know no other way to live than free.”

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molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

Twitter: @mollyhf

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