N.H. Couple’s Son Recovering From Injuries

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Jeffrey Bauman was lying on the ground near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, grasping the hands of his girlfriend’s two roommates. The three had been holding up a sign in anticipation of her crossing just seconds before.

He wanted the girls to get help before he did. He didn’t realize how bad his own injuries were. But before he knew it he was in a wheelchair, and a man in a cowboy hat was pinching one of Bauman’s severed arteries. He told Bauman to do the same on the other leg: Hold it, tighten it, hold it, tighten it. It all happened so fast.

This is what Bauman, 27, remembers from the aftermath of two explosions Monday that killed three people and injured more than 170. It’s what he told his father and stepmother, Jeff and Csilla Bauman, of Concord, when he was conscious enough to speak yesterday evening. Bauman’s pain, and the heroism of Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat, have been immortalized in one of the most gruesome and iconic photos of Monday’s horror.

Bauman lost both of his legs from the knee down, Csilla Bauman said. He was the first person in surgery at Boston Medical Center on Monday because his injuries and blood loss were so severe. He’s going back into surgery today so doctors can clean up the area of the wounds, she said this morning.

The elder Jeff Bauman was at work in Concord on Monday afternoon when he got a frantic call from his stepdaughter, Erika Schneider. His son had been hurt, she saw it in a photo. Jeff could barely believe it, but Erika was able to confirm that it was his son in the photo. Erika and Csilla’s other daughter drove down to Boston immediately. Jeff waited for Csilla, who was at work in Exeter. He needed her support.

The car ride down to Boston was horrific, Csilla said. She, Jeff and their son Chris were in the car. They prayed, they cried, they tried to believe that maybe Bauman was okay. He was sitting up in the picture, maybe that was a good sign, Csilla thought. She never saw the uncropped image that shows her stepson’s leg is in shreds. She never wants to see it.

“I said, ‘Look, he’s sitting up, that’s a positive thing. He’s sitting up, he’s going to be alright.’ But right before we got to the hospital my daughter called and let us know the horrible news of his legs,” Csilla said. “We were crushed — for him, not for us. We were crushed for him, because he is so young. This man is such a great young person, so happy.”

Bauman was out of surgery when they arrived. Over the next day, nearly 30 family members arrived, including his mother, Patty Bauman. Bauman has an older brother, Tim, two stepsisters, Erika and Csilla Schneider, and two half-brothers, Chris and Alan Bauman, who grew up in Concord with Jeff and Csilla. Alan is in military training in San Antonio, Texas, but was able to talk to his brother on the phone last night.

“(We) coached Jeffrey through it, we told him, ‘Come on, let’s go, you gotta get back with us, and everything’s going to be alright,” Csilla said. “That’s all you can do, you can only talk to them.”

Around 7 p.m. last night, he no longer had any tubes in his mouth and he was able to wake up and speak. He is being positive, Csilla said.

“It was really hard for us, and his father . . . he was upset, crying, and said, ‘Jeff, we thought we were going to lose you, we thought you were going to be gone,’ and my stepson just kind of smirked a little and said, ‘I could hear you all,’ ” she said.

It’s unclear right now how much longer Bauman will be in the hospital. He will need extensive rehabilitation and likely some counseling, Csilla said.

Bauman grew up and still lives in Chelmsford, Mass. He works at the Costco in Nashua and is trying to save up money to go back to school to study civil engineering. His father and stepmother moved to Concord from Manchester in 2002. Although Bauman never lived with them, he visits Concord often. The family is active in Concord Youth Hockey, and Bauman and his brothers would skate together at Everett Arena when he visited.

Bauman is also an avid guitar player, Csilla said. And, of course, he’s a fan of all Boston sports teams.

The bombing has changed Bauman’s life, but the family will not allow his life to be ruined, Csilla said.

“He did not deserve this,” she said.

A fund has been established for Bauman at GoFundMe.com under “Bucks for Bauman.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

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