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20 Aug, 2013 18:00

‘Multiple gunshot wounds’: Boston bombing suspect’s severe injuries revealed

‘Multiple gunshot wounds’: Boston bombing suspect’s severe injuries revealed

Multiple bullets fired during the capture of surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev caused severe injuries, including skull fracture, according to newly released federal court documents.

The first full description of the traumas was disclosed in the transcript of the April court proceeding, unsealed on Monday. The testimony was given at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, three days after the arrest of the accused Boston bomber. The injuries were described by Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, a trauma surgeon who treated the suspect at the hospital.

According to the transcript, Odom  stated that Tsarnaev “has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower face,” according to the court documents, as quoted by US media.

“This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that’s been treated,” he said.

The surgeon was referring to the injuries the now 20-year-old suffered when police opened fire on a boat in a backyard where the suspect was hiding before being taken into custody.

In the hospital proceeding, Odom said the suspect also suffered “multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities” that were treated with dressings. He stated that Tsarnaev received dosages of the pain medication Dilaudid. 

“In the case of his left hand, he had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation,” Odom told US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler.

However, the surgeon noted that Tsarnaev was fully aware of his location and his injuries, and was lucid enough to answer questions before his hearing.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.(Reuters / FBI / Handout)

"He definitely knows where he is," Odom acknowledged. "He knows that he has had multiple procedures, but I'm not sure how aware he is of the specifics. He knows that he has an injury to the neck and to the hand."

Tsarnaev showed signs of injuries during his court hearing in Boston in July - his face appeared swollen and his left arm was in a cast.

He is currently being held at the Federal Medical Center, Devens. Tsarnaev was moved to the facility on April 26 after spending a week at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center - a hospital that at the time was also treating many of his alleged victims.

Tsarnaev was arrested on April 19, four days after the deadly Boston bombing attack. He was caught in Watertown, Massachusetts during a showdown with police after a day-long lockdown of most of the Boston area.

The suspect pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges at his July 10 court hearing. The ethnic Chechen and US citizen is accused of setting off homemade pressure-cooker bombs on April 15 in the middle of the crowd watching the Boston Marathon.

Tsarnaev was allegedly acting together with his elder brother Tamerlan, 26, who was killed following a gun battle with police. Tamerlan was supposedly the mastermind behind the attack. While on the run, the brothers allegedly shot dead an MIT police officer.

Three people were killed in the bombing, including 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu. More than 260 others were injured, with many eventually losing their legs.