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Crit Care. 2001 Dec;5(6):304-6. Epub 2001 Nov 6.

The World Trade Center attack. Doctors in the fire and police services.

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  • 1Deputy Chief Surgeon, Police Department City of New York, New York, USA.


The World Trade Center attack cast some physicians in roles outside their usual hospital practice. The incident required several physicians to function in the dangerous environment of the disaster. Priorities and triage strategies established by the police, emergency medical service and fire departments, while adhered to, required instantaneous modification and upgrading given the vast loss of civilian and rescue personnel lives. Many civilian medical staff presented themselves with good intentions but needed to be placed out of the collapse zone for fear of incurring additional casualties. In addition, problems with re-establishment of command and control, communications, personnel and equipment replacement all impacted on the rescue effort. This article recounts the roles played by the two coauthors during the World Trade Center attack.

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