Six Heroic Saves

For the victims of the marathon bombings, the process of healing isn’t merely physical—it’s emotional, too. And the bonds they forged with the doctors who treated them that fateful day have helped restore both mind and body.


Photograph by Henry Busby

The Doctor:

Jeffrey Kalish

Vascular surgeon, Boston Medical Center

The Patient:

Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Professional ballroom dancer, Boston

As she was being wheeled into the operating room at Boston Medical Center, Adrianne Haslet-Davis told everyone within earshot that she was a ballroom dancer, and they needed to save her foot, which had been badly damaged in the blast. Just hours earlier, she’d been celebrating her husband’s return from Afghanistan—they’d toasted his safe arrival over brunch—only to find themselves in a war zone.

“I went into surgery thinking that I wasn’t going to lose it,” she says of her left foot. Shortly after the procedure, she spoke with her surgeon, Jeffrey Kalish. “I could see on his face that he so desperately wanted to tell me that it was still there,” she says.

“I told her, ‘You still are a dancer, it’s just going to be different,’” Kalish says. Then he made her three promises: When it was time for her to have her stitches removed, he wanted to be the one to do it. When she was ready to dance again, he would be there to see her. And when she was ready to take on the Boston Marathon, he’d be cheering for her on the sidelines. “She’s a firecracker,” he says. “I said, ‘I will be there, no matter what it takes, to watch you.’”