(L) Jahar in good health, (R) After police attack
By Cheryl Dean
At 8:45 pm on April 19, 2013, four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, unarmed Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev, was captured at the side of a boat. After almost being killed by law enforcement and the FBI, he was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Brookline, clinging to life.
The attending trauma surgeon was Dr. Stephen Odom, who performed several operations on Jahar in the next few days and oversaw his medical care until he was transferred to Devens Medical prison, 6 days later.
Dr. Odom said:
“We often take care of ‘the bad guy’. But I’ve never seen anything like this. There were hundreds of police officers and FBI. There was a pretty heavy presence of armed people with visible weapons. [Were they afraid the unconscious teenager would suddenly jump up and start throwing bombs?] That’s not something you usually see in a hospital or an operating room. The FBI officer in charge told me, ‘Anything you need from us, we can help’.”
I guess that FBI officer was just telling Dr Odom that this gaggle of armed men was not there to impede the process or direct it in any way. It was like saying, “Despite the fact that I am wearing an FBI jacket and have a machine gun, I’m here to protect you and protect the suspect.”
Recall that Jahar is the suspect they had just tried to “do away with” in the boat in Watertown – 240 bullets were fired at the boat.
Dr. Richard Wolfe of Beth Israel said that there were over 40 people (including many law enforcement) in the resuscitation room. Wolfe also recounted how in the aftermath of the young man’s stabilization, the nurses were hit by a serious dilemma. He said:
“They look on the perpetrator as someone absolutely horrible and ask themselves, ‘What have we done? We just saved him’.”
Dzhokhar was put into a medically induced coma and was placed on a respirator after the doctors determined the scope and severity of all his injuries. During the remainder of the evening of April 19 and throughout the night, Dzhokhar underwent numerous surgical operations with time in-between in the surgical recovery room.
At 5:30 am on Saturday April 20, Dzhokhar was taken to the intensive care unit on the 6th floor of Beth Israel to begin his recovery and further treatment. He was taken out of the coma and the respirator was replaced by a tracheotomy.
He was heavily medicated on propofol (diprivan). By 6:30 pm he had been weaned off the propofol and was now being administered fentanyl along with antibiotics. By 11:00 pm the fentanyl was stopped and he was given the drug dilaudid.
Nine specific trauma nurses were summoned and asked to care for Dzhokhar, two per shift. They were required to show identification and let police search their purses at various checkpoints to reach Tsarnaev’s heavily guarded ward where all the beds but his were eerily empty.
Some nurses reportedly said they felt no sympathy for Tsarnaev. While moving Tsarnaev one day, a nurse named Irene, reflexively said: I am really sorry “hon.’’
“It’s the sort of thing nurses say dozens of times a day to other patients, but it felt weird with an alleged terrorist”, she said.
Afterward, she and another nurse, pseudonym Marie, made a pact. They would alert each other if either used a term of endearment, so they could stop. (How absolutely ridiculous, childish and unprofessional!)
Marie also said, she would not be upset if he got the death penalty.
“Many of the support staff, the cleaners, and families of other patients will say, ‘Why are you giving him pain medication?’ They might be angry at us for turning him and washing him and for doing what we are really supposed to do’.’’
These nurses, who of course had not a shred of evidence of wrongdoing by this 19-year-old, already fully believed he was guilty. Probably most of the doctors believed it, too.
The staff at the hospital — Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center — where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was treated for almost a week – “are relieved that he has been moved out of the hospital.” So said the hospital’s Israel-trained president and CEO Dr. Kevin Tabb to the Times of Israel.
When Tsarnaev was transferred on Friday, April 26, to Devens prison hospital, Dr Tabb said “At a personal level, we are relieved he’s gone.”
Interrogating a Very Sick Boy
Dr. Odom was asked: How do you make sure you’re doing the right thing for the patient when you’ve got a lot of pressure from law enforcement to interrogate?
“We had to, in a friendly manner, negotiate the best way to do that, so that it was safe. [safe for whom?] So that I wasn’t necessarily abandoning him to the authorities, but they could get the information they wanted to get. I was unsure about the ethics of that at the time. I was unclear about what the right thing to do was. I think we did a pretty good job of finding the balance.
“We set up a way so that we could monitor things from an adjacent room so that it was safe. Any time we wanted access to him, we just had to let them know. They didn’t want us present for the interrogation, but if we saw something on the monitor, say, that we didn’t like, we could just knock on the door and they would let us in.”
Well, wasn’t that good of them!
Dzhokhar was asleep, being treated and recovering for the next 12 hours, throughout the day of Saturday, April 20th, when the High Value interrogation team entered his room. These are the very ones who interrogate at Guantanamo Bay.
According to the defense attorney’s records the interrogation began at 6pm. But prosecutor Ortiz says it was 7.30pm. (See Court motion # 319)
They began a relentless interrogation that lasted until the morning of Monday April 22. Imagine it, this patient is post-op! He has a tracheotomy and many bullet wounds and God knows what else.
This is Carmen Otiz’s report of timing of Jahar’s
Questioning/ Rest/Sleep/Medical treatment. I have added the bolding:
Sat Apr 20 …
7 pm … questioned for 43 min … then left to be treated/ sleep for 30 min
8:13 pm– questioned for 30 min … then left to be treated/ sleep for 90 min
10:13 pm… questioned for 45 min.. left to be treated/
sleep for 140 min
Sun Apr 21…1:18 am …
questioned for 67 min … left to be treated/ sleep for 197 min
5:42 am … questioned for 65 min … left for 10 hrs, 30 min
Ortiz boasted about that long period – ten and a half hours, when he was left alone — failing to mention that Dzhokhar had three more surgeries during this 10 1/2 hours, when he certainly could not have been questioned.
And so it continued until breakfast time (8.23am) on Monday, April 22. That “morning session,” however, had had begun at 1.04am. Picture how you yourself would cope with being woken at 1.04am for interrogation.
It was also said by one of the nurses who cared for him, that Dzhokhar cried for two days after waking up. Now we don’t need to wonder why. In his severely traumatized state, shackled to his bed, in pain, he had to endure the relentless “interrogation” of these torturers.
As we can see from the above photo of Jahar, there was nothing wrong with his neck or throat. At this point he had surrendered; he was helpless. So it seems likely that “law enforcement” – might as well say “law breakage” – hurt him further after the surrender.
The following injuries are documented in Defense Motion #13 and Motion #295:
Jahar was in critical condition with life threatening gun shot wounds to his head, mouth, pharynx, face, severe soft tissue injury, jaw, throat, left hand, both legs. Also, his scapula (shoulder blade) was shattered, apparently by gunshot. Damage to cranial nerves required that his left eye be sutured closed, and his jaw was wired shut.
Dzokhokar had so many injuries it is truly a miracle that he survived.
— Cheryl Dean works on the Marathon case, a case that makes her angrier by the minute. She is now is waiting anxiously for the release of the more than 800 documents that are still sealed by the Court. The conviction of Jahar is being appealed.