NBC Interviews NYU Medical Staff
"DatelineNBC" producers carrying hand-held video cameras were "granted a rare opportunity" to interview medical professionals in the intensive care unit of the New York University Downtown Hospital yesterday about their experiences treating victims from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The hospital is located near the attack site. Staff members described the events they observed, the conditions of the patients they treated and the emotions involved with losing and saving patients. Among their comments:
- "It is a very sobering experience for all of us. Severe burns, fractures, dislocations; we saw things you would see in a war," one doctor said. He added, "We've seen the most horrible way man could treat man."
- Chief of Surgery and Emergency Services Dr. Howard Beaton said, "Many people who were here in 1993 [when a bomb went off at the World Trade Center] couldn't believe the devastation. But 1993 was almost really just a dress rehearsal for the seriousness of this." Beaton continued, "This is in every way comparable to a war zone or a battlefield."
- When asked how he was "holding up," one physician responded, "Well, considering, as well as could be expected. It is pretty horrific out there. Unfortunately, from my standpoint, a lot of the people who come in are not salvageable."
- Several providers commented that many emergency medical workers "paid with their lives" to assist victims. Beaton said, "Many of them responded to the World Trade Center when the first plane hit and were buried in the rubble. Unlike most people, EMS workers tend to rush towards the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, many of them are trapped and are injured."
- Noting that the possibility of a new attack on the trade center had been raised during a recent hospital training session, one health care worker reflected that on Tuesday, "we looked out the window and said, 'OK, this is no longer a game. This is reality.' ... This is what we do."
- Beaton said that the hospital had been told by EMS to expect approximately 500 more casualties as rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble. When asked if the worst may be yet to come, Beaton responded, "The worst is that we just don't know when the worst will be."
NBC also reported that some of the hospital's doctors and nurses left the facility to help perform emergency surgeries at a field unit (NBC, 9/12).
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