BOSTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- Three might have died in the bombing of the Boston Marathon a week ago and the outcome for those who made it to the hospital in critical and serious condition was uncertain. But now doctors say the more than 180 people injured in the twin blasts seem likely to survive.
This includes several people who arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head wound and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl riddled with nails. Even a transit system police officer whose heart had stopped and was close to bleeding to death after a shootout with the suspects now appears headed for recovery.
In this April 15, 2013 file photo, Sydney Corcoran, of Lowell, Mass. is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon after two bombs exploded, in Boston. As people lay badly bleeding in the smoke of the Boston Marathon bombings, rescuers immediately turned to a millennia-old medical device to save their lives _ the tourniquet. Using belts, shirts and other materials, they tied off bleeding limbs in fast-acting bids to prevent major blood loss, shock and death. Such fast work no doubt saved many lives, doctors at Boston area hospitals said. (Photo: AP/John Tlumacki)
"All I feel is joy," said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to his hospital's 31 blast patients. "Whoever came in alive, stayed alive."
Three people did die in the blasts, but at the scene, before hospitals even had a chance to try to save them. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who police say was fatally shot Thursday by the suspects was pronounced dead when he arrived at Massachusetts General.
Firefighters salute as pallbearers carry the casket of Krystle Campbell, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, from St. Joseph Catholic Church after a funeral service on April 22, 2013 in Medford, Massachusetts. A manhunt ended for Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing after he was apprehended on a boat parked on a residential property in Watertown, Massachusetts. His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the other suspect, was shot and killed after a car chase and shootout with police. The bombing, on April 15 at the finish line of the marathon, killed three people and wounded at least 170. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The only person to reach a hospital alive and then die was one of the suspected bombers - 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
But the remarkable, universal survival one week later of all others injured in the blasts is a testimonial to fast care at the scene, on the way to hospitals, then in emergency and operating rooms. Everyone played a part, from doctors, nurses and paramedics to strangers who took off belts to use as tourniquets and staunched bleeding with their bare hands.
As of Monday, 51 people remained hospitalized, three of them in critical condition and five listed as serious. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb; three of them lost more than one.
People wait inside the main lobby of Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Many who were wounded when two explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon earlier were brought to Brigham and Women's. (Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Two children with leg injuries remain hospitalized at Boston Children's Hospital. A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition and 11-year-old Aaron Hern is in fair condition.
The surviving bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with a neck wound.
"Our training, our practicing, went a long way" to minimizing chaos so that hospitals and emergency responders worked effectively to treat the many wounded, said Dr. William Mackey, surgery chief at Tufts Medical Center.
"Trauma care is optimism translated into action," said Dr. Russell Nauta, chairman of surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., where the wounded transit police officer, Richard Donohue, remains in stable but critical condition. Doctors and emergency responders approach each patient as someone who can be saved regardless of how severe the injuries appear.
And some were very bad.
"The legs came hanging on muscles and skin," said Velmahos, who did three of the four initial amputations on patients in the early hours after the bombs at Massachusetts General. A fifth patient at that hospital had to have an amputation Thursday. Doctors had judged that there was a 5 percent chance the woman's leg could be saved, so they didn't amputate right away.
"We restored the blood supply to the leg, but all the muscles and nerves were destroyed," so the leg had to be removed later, he explained.
(Photo: AP/Kenshin Okubo)
Medical workers aid an injured man at the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring at least 22 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators. (Photo: AP/The Boston Globe, David L. Ryan)
Of the remaining five patients at the hospital with severe leg injuries, "I'm very confident that they will all keep their legs, and even more, that they will have functional legs," he said.
Although doctors are optimistic, some patients still have life-threatening wounds. Complications can range from blood clots to infections. A few still have injuries that could require amputation, said Dr. Michael Yaffe, a trauma surgeon at Beth Israel.
"We have to see how these are going to heal" over the next few weeks, he said. "Blood supply is key. ... The two biggest enemies we will face in the next two weeks are maintaining a good blood supply and preventing infection."
So far, the progress has been in the right direction.
"Every day they're a little better," Yaffe said. "A lot of them have a long road of recovery ahead."
Watch this report from doctors Monday out of Boston medical center: