BOSTON — The MBTA transit officer seriously wounded during the shootout after the Boston Marathon bombings launched a blood drive Thursday as a way of saying thanks to people whose donations helped save his life that night.
Officer Richard Donohue felt he got a new lease on life because of heroic efforts by medical teams at Mt. Auburn Hospital, where he arrived with a gunshot wound and a severed femoral artery. He’d lost almost all of his blood and continued to bleed out as more was pumped in.
“I needed all I could get,” Donohue recollected Thursday. “I needed 26 units and then 46 total blood products to keep me alive.”
He used all of the Mt. Auburn blood supply as well as blood and blood products from three neighboring hospitals.
“I don’t know who those donors were — probably never will. I’m just glad that people took the time and energy to come out and give blood,” Donohue said.
As a way to say thank you and give back, he hosted a summer blood drive at the Marriott hotel in Copley Square, only a block away from where the marathon bombings took place.
Among those donating Thursday was Donohue’s boss, Transit Chief Paul MacMillan.
“That’s why it’s so important for people to donate blood on a regular basis,” MacMillan said. “The blood loss was incredible, and the support we got from the other hospitals to get that blood to Mt. Auburn Hospital was incredible.”
The Donohue family plans to make this an annul blood drive — every summer.
“This is particularly a low season for blood donors, yet it is a season that many accidents occur and so having a strong blood supply for the American Red Cross is imperative,” said Donohue’s mother, Consuelo O’Connell Donohue, who is a nurse at Tufts Medical Center.
One of those donating blood was Kate Kennedy, a Boston resident who had never donated before. She was one of those marathon runners who never got to finish the race this year because of the explosions.
“I was thinking about donating blood since the marathon,” she said. “When I saw the signs today, and it said it was Officer Donohue, it did resonate. It was extra important, I guess.”