Hospitals Treat Host of Injured After Terrorist Attacks
New York doctors and hospitals yesterday "scrambled" to treat thousands of "burned, broken and crushed" patients after the attack on the World Trade Center, which collapsed yesterday after two airliners crashed into the twin towers, the Baltimore Sun reports. Medical officials established "makeshift" emergency rooms and triage centers and asked volunteers to help treat patients (Bor/Sugg, Baltimore Sun, 9/12). At hospitals in lower Manhattan, hundreds of doctors and nurses treated the "wounded at the front lines of a war." Emergency rooms at several Manhattan hospitals filled with patients and medical staff, while hospitals in surrounding areas "remained on standby" (Barry, New York Times, 9/12). New York University Downtown and St. Vincent's hospitals received most of the patients (Heisler, New York Daily News/Contra Costa Times, 9/12). Dozens of patients had arrived "sporadically" after the terrorist attack (Hancock, Miami Herald, 9/12). By late afternoon, 300 patients arrived at St. Vincent's Hospital. Doctors treated patients for burns, broken bones, concussions, smoke inhalation and eye injuries (Baltimore Sun, 9/12). Fifty patients had sustained serious injuries, and four died (BBC News, 9/12). At Bellevue Hospital, doctors had treated about 125 patients by late afternoon, including between 30 and 40 with serious injuries (Baltimore Sun, 9/12). NYU Downtown Hospital had treated about 300 patients, including three who died. In addition, emergency staff sent about 1,500 patients by boat across the Hudson River to tents and ambulances on the New Jersey shore (New York Daily News/Contra Costa Times, 9/12). NPR reports that at an outdoor triage center just north of the World Trade Center, doctors, nurses, police officers and firefighters all helped with relief, and film companies provided lighting after the sun went down ("Morning Edition," NPR, 9/12).
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said that by mid-afternoon, about 2,100 had suffered injuries in the World Trade Center attack, with about 600 taken to local hospitals (Boorstein,AP/Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 9/12). In addition, NPR reported this morning that approximately 1,100 patients were treated at city hospitals during the night ("Morning Edition," NPR, 9/12). Giuliani also said that some of the "walking wounded" returned to their communities in New Jersey and Long Island to receive treatment. However, the New York Times reports that hundreds, or likely thousands, of individuals died in the attack, "their bodies buried beneath the still smoldering rubble." A "visibly shaken" Giuliani said, "The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear ultimately" (New York Times, 9/12). According to hospital officials, they had only received patients injured outside the World Trade Center, and the number of patients would likely rise "dramatically" after rescue teams began "digging into the rubble" (AP/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12). In addition, at least 300 fire fighters and 78 police officers "remain[ed] unaccounted for" last night (BBC News, 9/12). During the day, New York hospitals adhered to "long-practiced" disaster plans, sending home non-critical patients and canceling non-emergency surgeries (New York Daily News/Contra Costa Times, 9/12). The New Jersey Department of Health also placed state hospitals on "full disaster alert" (Baltimore Sun, 9/12). However, the Los Angeles Times reports that in the "chaotic aftermath" of the attack yesterday, "such carefully laid plans collided with the complications of reality" (Cimons/Peterson, Los Angeles Times, 9/12).
In the Washington, D.C., area, after a similar attack on the Pentagon, patients "poured into hospitals," while emergency teams treated patients outside the military facility, where officials still expect to find dozens of casualties in the wreckage. Although officials issued no report on the total number of injuries and casualties, Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington last night reported receiving 36 patients, eight in critical condition, some who suffered "severe" smoke inhalation and burns to the face and hands. Two of the patients underwent surgery, and the hospital treated and released 11 patients, including five emergency workers. Washington Hospital Center admitted 12 persons, including six in critical condition. According to Dr. Marion Jordan, director of trauma and burn services at the hospital, the hospital had ordered 50 square feet of frozen human skin from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and from Dayton, Ohio, to treat the burn patients. Janice Moore, a spokesperson for Virginia's Inova hospital system, said yesterday that Inova Alexandria Hospital admitted five individuals from the Pentagon attack with minor injuries, but none at the hospital's Fairfax facility. In the district, George Washington University Hospital treated two patients and Georgetown University Hospital treated one patient later transferred to Washington Hospital Center with critical burns. Northern Virginia Community Hospital, located about five miles from the Pentagon, treated three patients for minor injuries in the emergency room. Hospitals had to call additional staff to handle the "influx" of patients. In surrounding areas, hospitals remained "on standby" (Honawar/Hyslop, Washington Times, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.