Physicians, execs recall 9/11 experiences: 7 quotes

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Two decades after the 9/11 Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks in the U.S., healthcare workers, including physicians, are stopping to reflect on their experiences from Sept. 11, 2001.

Seven quotes from workers about that day:

1. Frank Illuzzi, MD, is a medical director at Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare but was chief resident in 2001 at New York City-based Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He recalled to News 12: "We didn't even send an alert out and I had 100 doctors and nurses show up immediately, just instinctively saying, 'How can we help?'"

2. Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeff Flaks, who worked at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City 20 years ago, told News 12: "We were actually in our boardroom having a meeting and we heard a loud noise. At the hospital campus, they immediately closed down Seventh Avenue. All of our doctors and nurses sprang into action and really created hundreds of beds on Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th Street."

3. Jack Sava, MD, director of the Gold Surgery team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., served his first day as a surgeon at MedStar on Sept. 11, 2001. He told 7News: "Waiting for the first casualty, how are we going to run this event and how are we going to manage a team? I've thought about that for the 20 years since, but when the first patient came in it was like muscle memory."

4. Jeffrey Shupp, MD, director of the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, told 7News: "Seeing how few beds we had available on 9/11, and our ability to surge was not mature, was a reality check for the burn community."

5. John Sverha II, MD, emergency room physician at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, told 7News: "One of the ER nurses had brought her teenage daughter in who had an earring stud stuck in her earlobe. I remember that was the drama we were dealing with that morning until kind of everything changed obviously."

6. Peter Liu, MD, emergency room physician at Virginia Hospital Center, told 7News: "I had been working at Virginia Hospital Center for about six weeks before 9/11. I just got out of residency, I was a new grad and this was a test of tests."

7. James Cole, president and CEO of Virginia Hospital Center, told 7News, referring to a photograph from Sept. 11, 2001, where Dr. Liu is standing with medical first responders: "Everyone is looking toward the right. There are two stretchers, I believe, in the photograph. But there are no patients in that photograph. It was so sobering, I think that at about that point, for all of us to begin to understand that there were not going to be any more patients. That there were no more survivors."

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