Kansas doctor finishes marathon, rushes to aid wounded at Boston Marathon attack

The Takeaway

A runner is escorted from the scene after explosions at the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston, Mass., April 15, 2013. Two explosions hit as runners crossed the finish line. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters.)

The finish line at any marathon is always a place filled with complex emotions: runners overcome with joy, exhaustion and exhilaration.

But for the runners at Monday's Boston Marathon, a race that began at 9 a.m. and ended abruptly Monday afternoon, the feelings at the finish line were obviously even more complicated.

Dr. Chris Rupe, a surgeon from Salina, Kan., finished the Boston marathon 30 seconds before the first explosion went off. But rather than enjoying food or merely resting, as most do after a marathon, Rupe went back to tend to the wounded.

"It was awful. It was mass chaos," he said. "But it was controlled chaos. And the police were there, making sure that people didn't come to just gawk at the scene. They were making sure ambulances were coming in."

Police sent Rupe to a medical tent, where he could help.

"All I could see was some fencing and some clothing items and probably some body parts. There was debris everywhere," he said.

Rupe was able to help people who had injuries to their legs, he said, but most of the major trauma and major injuries were taken swiftly to Boston's various hospitals.

"There wasn't a whole lot that was brought to the medical tent," he said.

But Rupe was able to fill another role. Many of the volunteers working in the medical tent didn't know what had happened. Because Rupe had seen and heard the blast, he was able to fill them in.

Eventually Rupe himself had to step back. The fatigue from having just finished a marathon began to set in.

But he praised the first responders who took care of the people who were injured. 

"For every bad person, there's hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of good people," he said.