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Personal Stories From 9/11

September 11, 2016


Written by Mark Corpron a friend:

Although I hadn’t worked in the Emergency Room for a number of years, I put on my lab coat and walked the four blocks, certain they would need my help. Not only were we a level one trauma center, we were the burn center for Manhattan. I confirmed that my family was safe and I was mentally preparing myself on the walk over for the mass casualties that would be pouring in by the dozens. Hundreds even. The ER was packed with physicians and nurses. Empty stretchers was were lined up with IV’s primed and waiting. We were ready. Waiting. Any patient who could possibly be discharged was sent home. We were ready. The first tower had not yet fallen. We were waiting. Where were the casualties? We reasoned that they must be taking them to the nearest hospitals first. Perhaps they were treating and stabilizing near the scene in a giant makeshift triage area. We waited. Some victims with severe burns came through, but went directly up to the burn unit, to beds that had been emptied and made ready. As we waited for the victims, we all gathered in the waiting room, where the only television was broadcasting the events as they unfolded. Now the pentagon. Now the crash in a field. What was happening? Where were the patients? We were ready. We were waiting. As we saw the image of the first tower collapse, we let out a collective gasp, as hands covered mouths or grasped heads. “Oh my God!” Slowly, a few victims trickled in. Some EMS workers, first responders and people on the periphery, with respiratory distress and eye irritation from the smoke and dust. I irrigated the eyes of one of our own EMS workers who was covered in grey soot. He tried to tell me what he had witnessed, but broke down in tears. I hugged him. I stayed until midnight. Maybe there would be survivors found buried in the rubble. I came back the next day, this time in a pair of stolen scrubs that I still had at home. The same empty stretchers with the IV’s ready were still there, waiting for those who never came. It was finally sinking in. They were all gone.

This was written by a friend Mark Corpron who worked at Weil Cornell – New York Presbyterian . Thank you Mark for this moving piece.

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