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David Schoenfeld, Tamerlan Tsarnaev Doctor, Describes Efforts To Revive Bombing Suspect

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DAVID SCHOENFELD TAMERLAN TSARNAEV
In this Feb. 17, 2010, photo, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, accepts the trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves Championship from Dr. Joseph Downes, right, in Lowell, Mass. Tsarnaev, 26, who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 in the Boston Marathon Explosions and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight on Friday, April 19, 2013, officials said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie) | AP

WASHINGTON -- Dr. David Schoenfeld was among a crowd of 2,000 people who attended an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Thursday in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Several hours later, the emergency physician found himself trying to revive Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects behind the terrorist attack.

Schoenfeld returned to his home in Watertown, Mass., following the service. He was working on his computer when he heard on the news that a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been shot and killed.

"A little while later ... I saw a lot of police cars come into Watertown, where I live, and I started hearing gunshots and some explosions," Schoenfeld said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "When I heard the explosions, I knew that something was seriously wrong."

The doctor had seen 24 patients rushed through the doors of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after two bombs went off Monday at the Boston Marathon, leaving three dead and 176 injured. Schoenfeld said he knew almost immediately that the explosions he heard late Thursday night were related and called his emergency department "to prepare for incoming casualties."

He arrived at the hospital before Tsarnaev, 26, was brought in with a large law enforcement escort.

"There was some discussion of who's coming in," Schoenfeld said of the patient. "Is it the suspect? Is this a victim? Is it a police officer?"

"Ultimately that discussion died down quickly, because it doesn't matter who's coming in," he added. "We're going to treat them as best as we can, because you really don't know who it is until the dust settles."

When Tsarnaev arrived, he immediately went into cardiac arrest. CPR was performed until a team of doctors could attempt to resuscitate him, inserting chest tubes to treat potential injuries and gain vascular access to give the patient what Schoenfeld described as "massive blood transfusions."

Tsarnaev suffered from massive, penetrating injuries and was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m. His body was turned over to law enforcement so that it can be examined by forensic experts, medical examiners and investigators to determine the source of his injuries.

Authorities are still engaged in a manhunt for Tsarnaev's 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar.

Schoenfeld said it has been a physically and emotionally exhausting week for area health care professionals, and he characterized the response to the events in Boston as a team effort by emergency physicians, trauma surgeons and other medical professionals.

"This has been a very tragic and trying time," he said. "It's difficult for everyone here in Boston -- the emergency responders, health care professionals, the citizens ... and I'm sure throughout the country it's been a very difficult time."

Schoenfeld said the city is focused on remembering those who lost their lives, those who risked their lives, and the injured who will bear the scars for the rest of their lives.

Asked what was going through his mind when he left his home in the middle of the night after hearing gunfire and explosions, Schoenfeld said his focus was on doing his job.

"I woke my wife up, told her I had to go to work, that I'd be okay, and that I loved her," he said. "Then I put my scrubs on and went out the door."

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