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Tufts dental professor waiting at finish line when bomb blew in Boston

April 16, 2013

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Dr. Morton Rosenberg: The Tufts professor was waiting for friends to finish the Boston Marathon April 15 when the first bomb exploded about 100 yards from him. He is shown here in October 2011 teaching at the Recognition and Management of Complications During Minimal and Moderate Sedation course at ADA Headquarters.
Boston—Dr. Morton Rosenberg, a Tufts University dental school professor, was about 100 yards away from the first bomb that detonated at the Boston Marathon on April 15.

“No one knew what was happening at all,” Dr. Rosenberg told the ADA News by phone on April 16. “Cell phone reception was very, very limited. I actually called my wife, and she could not find anything on the television until about five minutes later. She said, 'Oh, my goodness! There was a big blast there.' That's the first time that I kind of understood what happened, even though I was about 100 yards south of it.”

Dr. Rosenberg, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and an associate professor of anesthesiology at the medical school, was waiting at the finish line for friends to complete the race when the first of two bombs exploded.

“It was a beautiful day in Boston,” he said. “Because of the time, these were the slower marathoners, not the elite ones, that were coming through, and they were coming through by the thousands, really.”

Then the blast rocked the scene, unleashing commotion.

“The crowd was very anxious,” Dr. Rosenberg said. ”There were thousands and thousands of people, both the runners and their families and spectators and everybody had a sense of panic, especially when the second blast occurred. And then there was really a massive exodus down Boylston Street—that's the main street where the marathon ends.”

He witnessed runners trying to run to safety, whereas they had just minutes before been trained on the finish line. “Other people were falling, people were being carried and it was an air of uncertainty as to what was happening,” he said.

A sense of shock and uncertainty still remains, he said. “This is the premier event that this city does and to all of a sudden have this evilness coming into it is just akin to the Oklahoma City bombing or the horrific tragedy in Newtown—not that the numbers are close, but just the shock of it all. I think it's something that continues to shake everybody up. Security is very enhanced now across the city, in the hospitals, in our dental school, just about every place you go now.”