Despite charitable outpouring, Boston Marathon victims still in limbo

Published: Monday, Sept. 16 2013 9:52 a.m. MDT

Boston Marathon bombing survivor J.P. Norden, of Stoneham, Mass., shakes hands with his physician Dr. David Crandell while getting released from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Friday. At far left is J.P.'s brother Paul Norden, who was released earlier in the month.

Charles Krupa, AP

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Could you imagine receiving a seven-figure gift from charity, and feeling that money was somehow ineffectual?

Consider the case of J.P. Norden, who lost his right leg in the Boston Marathon bombings. The money he received in June from the One Fund charity is definitely welcome assistance — but quite possibly it’s also the last lump sum he’ll ever receive to help offset a lifetime of expensive medical services.

“Norden’s own $1.2 million check still sits in a drawer in his mother’s apartment,” Lenny Bernstein wrote Monday for the Washington Post. “The 33-year-old former truck driver lives there for now, along with his brother Paul, who also lost his right leg in the attack and received an identical payout. The brothers are reluctant to commit the money, aware that the cost of maintaining their expensive prostheses and replacing them every few years could chew up the generous contributions, and that their job prospects are uncertain at best.”

An NPR story from a couple months ago underscored the grim reality that, for some of the most seriously injured survivors, it’s still going to be months and, perhaps, even years before they can know the full nature and extent of their injuries.

NPR’s Martha Bebinger reported, “In the hospital, (Marc Fucarile) endured multiple surgeries and skin grafts, induced comas and dozens of tests. In rehab, he will have to start rebuilding his arm strength first because his remaining leg is still too damaged for physical therapy. … Fucarile's left leg, in a knee-length cast, is red, scarred and still riddled with scrap metal. ‘The left leg is improving,’ he says. ‘It's questionable how functional it's going to be. Potentially I could be a double amputee, but the doctors have a strong hope for it. It's going to take me and therapy to get it to really work.’”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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