New York doctors witness sights seen only in wartime

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 22 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:649
  1. Hopkins Janice Tanne
  1. New York

    The New York area's 170 hospitals responded quickly to the attack on the World Trade Center—but most victims were already dead.

    Five people were pulled alive from the ruins; 5422 people are missing and presumed dead; 201 bodies have been found, of which 135 have been identified, 34 of them firefighters. No one has been found alive since Wednesday 12 September, the day after the attack.

    Dr Steven Garner, chief medical officer of the Catholic Medical Centers, was in a meeting of the board of trustees at the group's flagship hospital, the 622 bed Saint Vincents in Greenwich Village, when the disaster began to unfold.

    “We heard a loud airplane noise. I thought a plane was coming straight at us. Then we heard cries from the street for help. I ran downstairs. I could see a hole in the World Trade Center. We called the disaster plan into effect. Then the second tower was hit.”

    Saint Vincents was the closest hospital with a level one trauma centre (the highest). Police …

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