Not a single victim to treat for nurse at Ground Zero

  1. Eight firefighters caked with ash walked slowly toward him from out of the haze on their way to the morgue.
    They carried a body bag in a wicker stretcher.
    "You could tell by their faces that it was a comrade."
    This is the closest Tony Forgione got to an actual victim of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, even though the Braintree nurse was part of an emergency medical unit stationed on the periphery of Ground Zero for 10 days after the national catastrophe.
    The unit treated from 600 to 1,200 patients a day, but not a single victim.

    Their patients were firefighters, police officers, EMTs, construction workers, and clerics.
    Their injuries were cuts, bruises, blisters, broken bones, eye irritation, and respiratory problems.
    "There were no victims to treat after the Twin Towers collapsed," Forgione said solemnly. "That was the hardest part for the nurses. No victims to treat."
    Like the rest of the country, Sept. 11, 2001 began as an ordinary day for Forgione. He was at work in the operating room of Mass General Hospital, assisting in day surgery.

    Full Story: Not a single victim to treat for nurse at Ground Zero [Braintree Forum,MA]
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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,398
    allnurses.com founder; from US
    Specialty: 18+ year(s) of experience in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele

    10 Comments

  3. by   alexmom2006
    The title to this thread caught my attention, I work here in New york city and to this day I will never forget how I felt that day in Sept. 11, 2001.
    I work as an RN in a LTC facility in Manhattan and reside in Queens. I told my husband I have to go to work that day as I know a lot of staff had to stay and work over another shift. I work nightshift, so I prepared to go to work early-bringing a lot of food for my coworkers as I know a lot of them probably only had sandwiches to eat the whole day. As we crossed the 59th street bridge, it felt so eerie because there was no other car on the bridge that night- all vehicles were banned from coming to Manhattan with the exception of essential workers.
    In almost every few corners we were stopped & had to show my ID to military personnel. When we got to work everybody was sad and pensive, glued to the radio or TV. We were informed that we might be needed to help out in Ground Zero, we were all willing to go & waited for the next directive. We waited and waited, listening to the radio-watching TV when we can, and then they said there were no victims- I just cried, no victims to help coz they all died, that hurt so much-until now when someone asks me if I was here in New York when 9/11 happened, I say yes I was here and it still brings me to tears when I tell them that what hurts most was that we waited and waited and they were all gone.
  4. by   kalera481
    Brian & alexmom2006 thanks for your posts they definitely got me thinking.

    I can't imagine how everyone in NYC felt that day. I surmise that if I take my sadness, helplessness, horror, and fear I felt 5 hrs away in Pennsylvania, and magnify it by 100 maybe I'd have some idea.
    I think what I fear most now is how things will change over time. The bombing of Pearl Harbor is still recognized, but not to the degree I believe it to be when it first occurred. Will the memorials for 9/11 fade over time too? Does anyone else wonder what other horrifying events await us in the future? These are just questions....
    My prayers, go out to all the Ground Zero workers, the families of the victims in the planes/buildings, the surrounding communities of Arlington, Shanksville, and NYC and the victims themselves.


    FYI -If you don't know alot about Shanksville
    http://www.shanksvillememorial.com/
  5. by   MilitaryMedtoRN
    Brian, there was a few firefighters who fortunately survived. They were trapped in a pocketed area with a civilian lady that they had assisted, I think her name was Josephine, correct me if I am wrong. Thank God they survived. Father Michael Judge was killed when giving last rites to a firefighter. He wa acrried form the area by FF personnel.Thats what I remember
  6. by   Corvette Guy
    Quote from MilitaryMedtoRN
    Brian, there was a few firefighters who fortunately survived. They were trapped in a pocketed area with a civilian lady that they had assisted, I think her name was Josephine, correct me if I am wrong. Thank God they survived. Father Michael Judge was killed when giving last rites to a firefighter. He wa acrried form the area by FF personnel.Thats what I remember
    MilitaryMedtoRN - You are correct, there were Survivors of the September 11, 2001 attacks
  7. by   CHATSDALE
    i was so angery that day i still have problems watching scenes from that day
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    This is the sixth time I'm trying to post in this thread.

    The previous five times, I tried but couldn't complete what I was trying to say.



    This story affects me, deeply.
    I still have trouble fathoming the enormity of this tragedy...
    ... but the powerlessness felt by some of our brave citizens who rushed to assist has a power of it's own.

    I'm humbled by their courage, humility and devotion to duty.
  9. by   lindarn54455
    My family and I planned a vacation this July and it was agreed to be NYC!
    I am from Wisconsin and have always wanted to see big ole NYC but never did until this year. I spent one whole day at Ground Zero and being a Christian--I felt God's presence there tremendously. I even met a lady whom was a school teacher that had 3 son's in the towers and all but one son in tower 2 survived because he was so intent on watching tower 1 from his desk and would not believe his tower was also getting hit. He was on the 76th floor. She spoke of a young lady that has not left her mind since, whom she saw up on a 90th some floor that had stood on the ledge and wrapped her skirt around her legs so no one could see underneath and held it tight the whole way down, then landing on top of a live person on the sidedewalk killing that person. Think of the morals that young lady had!! I even met a firefighter that was trapped underneath a stairwell in the World Trade Center and survived!! He of course retired from that position after being treated. I felt honored to even hug and talk with these people that actually lived this awful world fatality!! And, not having a victim to care for --please be honored to care for those that gave of themselves to search and put themselves in risk for lives of others! I am a geriatric nurse and love every moment of it!! God Bless each of you for all you do for others!!
  10. by   ohioln
    I was watching on TV and I just felt so bad when I saw that there were no victims to treat! I wanted to just run over there and help, but I saw that there wasn't anyone to help from the towers! I hope that our national security is better now and pray that no one can get past it and do something else horrible!
  11. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    I flew back to New York in early November, right after 9/11 and as soon as I could go. I live in CA but almost my entire family lives in either NY or NJ, where I too was born & raised. I never forget the day I was at my nephews music recital at his elementary school. I attended and was there when they asked everyone who lost a family member or friend to stand up, and it was almost the entire auditorium, and there was this intense silence as the enormity was there for all to see. Here's something to consider: most regular workers don't live right in NY City, its just too expensive. Most firemen, policemen, street workers, etc. live in the surrounding burroughs, or out on Long Island, or 'upstate', or cross the GW from NJ, etc. So if you add to that the fact that each person who perished was not only a son, brother, sister, mother, etc. but also someone's neighbor, someone's friend, someone's sister-in-law TOO- then how many families really were affected by the 3000 or so that perished? I can tell you because I went back and spoke to so many people, that probably each person meant something significant to at least 50 other people, and if they had been a teacher for a few years, or an insurance agent for 20, and so on- then this number may go up to the hundreds. And the areas affected were not only in the center of New York City, but in all those surrounding areas. Just do the math if you want to think of how big this impact was. Hundreds of thousands of people and families were affected personally by these losses. In my sister's neighborhood alone, almost every house had a sign in the window with a picture of the family member they had lost. It is hard to relay just how much grieving was going on back there. I'm getting a big lump in my throat simply as the memories come back to me...to know that so many simply perished completely, with no hope of rescue and no need of medical care, and all those rescue workers who came to help, perished right alongside, is still something of a magnitude that is almost incomprehensibe to me.
  12. by   maryshome8
    I remembered that day as well....I was sitting in a Toronto airport in Canada watching the news, and when the towers fell, I cried for the next 12 hours straight...it was horrific.

    I'm not a nurse, and as un-politically correct as this may be, I'm also the daughter of a coal miner.

    There are many physicians that deny the existance of black lung...yup, they don't think the working 40 years in a mine with coal dust will affect your lungs, even though men die of it every year. Eventually the Union had to set up their own benefit program b/c the SS administration wouldn't take it as a known disability. Doctors try to blame it on smoking even though many of the men that are dying from black lung never smoked.

    Then there is the skin cancer...my father eventually moved from the mine to the lab and everyone that he retired with has skin cancer.

    I think you probably know where I am going with this....ground zero workers, some of who only worked a single day, some for only a few months (it's ONLY when you compare it to 40 years), are now trying to claim they have permanent respiratory disability from working ground zero.

    That burns people like my father up, and there is this huge movement to actually get these people benefits. My question is: Why?




    Quote from brian
    Eight firefighters caked with ash walked slowly toward him from out of the haze on their way to the morgue.
    They carried a body bag in a wicker stretcher.
    "You could tell by their faces that it was a comrade."
    This is the closest Tony Forgione got to an actual victim of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, even though the Braintree nurse was part of an emergency medical unit stationed on the periphery of Ground Zero for 10 days after the national catastrophe.
    The unit treated from 600 to 1,200 patients a day, but not a single victim.

    Their patients were firefighters, police officers, EMTs, construction workers, and clerics.
    Their injuries were cuts, bruises, blisters, broken bones, eye irritation, and respiratory problems.
    "There were no victims to treat after the Twin Towers collapsed," Forgione said solemnly. "That was the hardest part for the nurses. No victims to treat."
    Like the rest of the country, Sept. 11, 2001 began as an ordinary day for Forgione. He was at work in the operating room of Mass General Hospital, assisting in day surgery.

    Full Story: Not a single victim to treat for nurse at Ground Zero [Braintree Forum,MA]

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