Reflections – September 11th
After the recent anniversary of 9/11, it came to our attention that a documentary running on TV about first responders and medical professionals on 9/11 featured a public record photograph of Dr. Lonner and some of the other physicians taken outside of a hospital that morning by a photo-journalist. Dr. Lonner was surprised to see the photo, not knowing that it had ever been taken. The image captures Dr. Lonner and other physicians and staff outside of the hospital, which is on 17th and Second Avenue. While the hospital was not near the World Trade Center and is an orthopaedics hospital, physicians at hospitals around the city brought stretchers and supplies to the street level expecting and hoping to be brought many injured survivors requiring emergency care. Unfortunately, no one ever came.
Dr. Lonner describes below the context of this photograph and the impact that event had on him as a physician. We wanted to share these thoughts with our patients as we all have our own memories of that day which will not soon be forgotten.
"This was a somber day. As a physician, I felt angered, frustrated, and saddened first by the fact that human beings could perpetrate such horrific acts against innocent individuals and secondly that there was little aid that I and my colleagues could provide as unfortunately there were relatively few survivors of the World Trade Center atrocity. The next day, I went to the site of the devastation as I felt compelled to provide a helping hand at the scene, but again I was frustrated by the fact that the last survivor had been pulled out hours earlier and there was nothing I could do to help. I walked the several miles back to the where the photo is taken, checked in with my colleagues and hospital staff, and then went home. There was nothing we could do. On the way back to the hospital that day, I walked through little Italy in downtown Manhattan which was completely silent except for one restaurant that was open on Mulberry Street. There were five or six tables placed out on the street, with white table cloths, red roses on each, and a beautiful opera blaring on loudspeakers and a patron of the restaurant enjoying a meal. It was a statement to the forces of evil that life will go on. It was a very powerful moment."
Baron Lonner, MD