How to Help Boston Bombing Victims on the Road to Recovery

With almost 180 people having major disabilities as a result of the Boston attack, how can workplaces be more disability-friendly?

By Dara Sharif


It's the miracle of modern medicine.

Doctors in Boston say all of the nearly 180 people rushed to hospitals after the marathon bombing will likely live, including the dozen or so who lost limbs.

At last count, about 50 people were still hospitalized, a little more than a week after the blast, including 14 who lost all or part of an arm or leg. Doctors say their prognoses are promising.

Experts credit the positive outlook to prompt care by doctors and nurses, as well as the willingness of bystanders to aid the wounded prior to the arrival of paramedics.

But it's still a long road ahead for all of those injured in the bombing, which killed three people at the scene, including an 8-year-old boy. A Chechen immigrant and recent U.S. citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been charged in the attack.

Medical care alone can run upward of $50,000, one researcher told the New York Times. In addition, there's the psychological trauma and the real-world adjustment for those who lost one or more limbs. Some will require psychological counseling; others will need physical therapy. Renovations may be needed to make homes accessible for those adjusting to a new disability.

Employers can expect to be impacted as well, with the need to make modifications for returning workers, and to ensure a supportive and respectful workplace for employees, some of whose disabilities will be visible and some of whose may not be.

Half the battle in helping the people impacted by the Boston bombing may be simply remembering that they are just that: people. Their abilities may have been forever altered by the blast, but they are still able.

Is Your Workplace Disability-Friendly?

The companies on The 2013 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, especially those in the Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities, share several best practices that make them welcoming places for people with disabilities. These include:

  • Resource groups for people with disabilities and their allies that focus on accommodating workplaces, open recruitment policies and cultural-competence training for managers and the workplace—including people with hidden disabilities. More than three-quarters of the DiversityInc Top 50 have resource groups for people with disabilities, a percentage which has almost doubled in the past eight years.
  • Frequent communications, such as DiversityInc's Meeting in a Box on People With Disabilities, in October, that emphasize knowledge of the increasing number of people with disabilities graduating from college and their value to the workplace.
  • Specific recruitment efforts and initiatives that look for ways to include people with disabilities in innovative fashions.
  • Accommodating workplaces, including flexible hours/telecommuting, offered by all of the DiversityInc Top 50.

Will Congress Leave People with Disabilities Out to Dry?

Program that helps people with disabilities may be another casualty in the Republicans' war against Medicaid.

The future of a longstanding Medicaid program is quickly becoming an endangered species.

Read More Show Less

Runner with Cerebral Palsy Gets Lapped in Court

Illinois denies high school senior spot in state competition.

An Illinois high school senior is fighting to make his lifelong dream a reality, but this track star has one major hurdle to jump over. Aaron Holzmueller, of Evanston Township High School, is challenging the Illinois High School Association upon its decision to not implement a category that would allow para-ambulatory runners, or those with disabilities who do not use wheelchairs, to compete in the state meet, as they have in swimming and even track for athletes in wheelchairs.

Read More Show Less

Mentors, Sponsors Play Key Roles in Helping People With Disabilities Bring Their Whole Selves to Work

Professionals with disabilities might feel a little out of place because of their visible or non-visible differences. Mentors and sponsors can play a key role in helping them bring their whole selves to work.

EY sat down with Constant Djacga, who was recently promoted to Audit Partner at the firm, for career advice for people with disabilities. Constant is based in EY's San Jose office. He has a speech dysfluency, which causes stuttering issues. 

Read More Show Less

Television Continues to Slight People with Disabilities

The number of characters with disabilities has improved but remains "shameful" when compared to real-life demographics, according to one disability activist.

Micah Fowler on the set of "Speechless" / TWITTER

For the past 20 years, GLAAD has conducted a study analyzing the prevalence of LGBT characters on network and streaming television. For seven years, they have extended their research to show the representation of people with disabilities.

Read More Show Less

Bill to Track Wandering Children with Autism Finds Way to Senate Floor

Previous versions of the bill were stalled by Republicans over privacy concerns.

In response to a study that shows half of all autistic children wander away from their caretakers, the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee is moving forward with a measure that will allow and fund tracking devices to be placed in children with autism. Under this proposed bill Congress would allocate $2 million for grants to be awarded to local police departments and non-profit organizations as well as funding for education, training and notification systems.

Read More Show Less