Charles Petzold

Waiting for the Ambulances

September 10, 2006
New York, NY

St. Vincent's Hospital — located in several buildings around 12th Street and 7th Avenue about 2 miles north of the World Trade Center — was perhaps the ideal hospital to handle the 9/11 injuries. By all accounts, they were ready for whatever they needed to do.

But almost no one needed immediate medical help. People either got out, or not, with very few between the extremes of life and death.

We walked by the hospital in the late afternoon of 9/11, and it was disturbing that a hospital 2 miles away from a catastrophe exhibited so little activity. Doctors and nurses stood outside on the sidewalks and street, staring down 7th Avenue, waiting for an ambulance to come screaming up the street, so they wouldn't feel so helpless.