Section: Jersey City Medical Center News

Memories of 9/11 From Jersey City Medical Center Staff


Firemen came in and were looking for their lost friends and co-workers…We successfully treated over 170 patients, while at the same time the pharmacy department got all the daily orders out in time, just like any other day. We heard a newscaster say "one hospital has even set up a pharmacy in the ED." That was us. Allan Silverman, Pharmacy

An administrator had received a call from her assistant during a meeting that a plane had hit the World Trade Center…her daughter worked on the 92nd floor. We gathered in the conference room to view the news and activate the disaster plan while other tried to console the administrator…We learned much later that her daughter had been led safely out of the tower by two men, Paul and Peter. We began referring to them as the disciples. Brenda Hall, SVP, Patient Care Services

Rumors of further attack, the lack of radio contact, and the early lack of assisting personnel made this event the most chaotic of my career. Fortunately, there was no time for emotion during the siege and the event itself. Dr. Robert Lahita, former EMS Medical Director

My husband and I were drawn to the waterfront. We came upon dozens of people, covered head-to-toe in white ashen soot. They had been thrown into boats, and ferried over the Hudson before any relief had been set up. We announced our home was only two blocks away, and offered them shelter, phones, bathrooms, refreshments… As the day slowly crept on, the crowd dissipated as we were able to get them on their way to friends or family. Of the five families left, four of them did not know the whereabouts of their spouses or school-aged children. As evening approached, it became apparent the families would need to stay over. Fortunately, good news arrived during the afternoon, as folks were able to find their loved ones by phone – except for one mother of two toddlers, who could not find her husband, a broker in the WTC. Then, at 7:00 pm, using our speaker phone (since the batteries had died for the handsets), we all listened as she finally spoke to her husband, safe in Brooklyn. We all cried together in joy, as one family. Maureen Corrado, Director, The Employee Experience

We worked side by side employees who did not know throughout the day where their family and friends from the WTC were. Despite this, their care of patients never wavered. The memory that will never leave me is the aftermath of that day. As we finished treating the last of the patients arriving from lower Manhattan – firemen, policemen, people who had escaped the buildings and jumped onto boats in the harbor – we realized that, sadly, there would not be more survivors. We were a very eclectic group of doctors, nurses, admitting clerks and social workers who had worked as a team all day treating physical injuries, providing crisis intervention, reuniting families and providing transportation and housing for patients and families. Dr. Rita Smith, SVP, Nursing

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