New details have emerged describing the injuries that alleged Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sustained after state and federal law enforcement officials opened fire on the boat where the suspect was hiding days after the Boston Marathon attack.
According to court documents, Tsarnaev was shot in the face and sustained “serious” injuries after bullets entered through the left side of the inside of his mouth, and exited the left side of his lower face, doctors said.
Tsarnaev also suffered from “multiple gunshots wounds to the extremities,” according to court documents, however, the suspect was not in a critical state following surgery.
The injuries were described during a hearing with prosecutors by Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, who operated on Tsarnaev in the emergency room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, following the shootout on April 18, just three days after the suspect and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, allegedly set off two explosives along the Boston Marathon route. Tamerlan was killed in the shootout with police in Watertown, prior to his brother’s capture.
Odom was the attending trauma surgeon on call when Tsarnaev was brought to the hospital, from Watertown, and was his attending surgeon during the duration of his stay. The description of the suspect’s injuries were given on April 24, at which point Odom told a judge that Tsarnaev had severe, multiple gun shot wounds.
Odom said the gunshot wound to the face was “a high-powered injury” that resulted in the following:
A skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that’s been treated.
Tsarnaev’s hand was also injured when police opened fire on the boat where he had been hiding after a day-long police chase and manhunt that started in Cambridge and ended in Watertown. “He had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation,” Odom told the judge, on April 24, during the hearing.
When Tsarnaev was present for his first public court appearance last month, he wore a cast on his left hand, and spoke in a muffled tone.
Despite the injuries sustained the day of his capture, Odom told the judge that Tsarnaev was still aware of where he was, and what had happened. He was able to vocally respond to questioning by police, even after a bullet passed through his face, the report said.
The documents were sealed until Monday, when a judge decided to release them for public view. Tsarnaev, who is facing 30 federal charges, is scheduled to appear in court in September for an additional hearing.
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, including killing three people, injuring more than 250 others, using a weapon of mass destruction, at his initial court appearance on July 10.
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