Two Decades Of September 12th: An Update On The Care Of 9/11 Survivors Treated At A New York Burn Center
Nicholas A. Vernice, A.B.1, Grant G. Black, B.A.1, David Janhofer, M.D.1, Palmer Q. Bessey, M.D.2, David M. Otterburn, M.D.1
1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY USA2William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY USA
Purpose: While New York burn centers had prepared to receive hundreds of patients on September 11th, 2001, the rapid escalation of the event's severity resulted in a paucity of admissions. Ultimately, 18 patients were admitted to our center, with 15 surviving to discharge. To provide an update on this unique cohort involved in an unanticipated national disaster, we have endeavored to document the recoveries of all surviving patients treated at our institution.
Methods: Patients were identified through review of the Burn Center registry admissions from September 2001 to October 2001 (Weill Cornell IRB Exemption received). Medical records were retrospectively reviewed by two independent reviewers and the following data extracted: demographic information, past medical history, date of admission, % total body surface area (TBSA) burned, presence of inhalation injury, hospital course, date of discharge, rehabilitation course, number of burn-related or inhalation-related readmissions, reoperations, or comorbidities, and the date of most recent follow up. Semi-structured interviews and customized survey administration are ongoing.
Results: A total of 15 patients (1 NYFD; 14 civilians) were identified and included in analysis. Upon admission, the mean patient age was 43.2+/-10.2 years with a mean burn injury involving 29.2%+/-23.7% (range: 2%-80%) of TBSA. Of the affected area, partial thickness burns comprised 6.4%+/-7.6% TBSA, while full-thickness burns comprised 22.8%+/-24.7% TBSA. Seven patients (46.7%) experienced inhalation injury, while seven patients (46.7%) required mechanical ventilation (mean ventilation time = 53.1 days +/- 46.7 days [range: 3 days-140 days]). Initial mean length of stay was 42.6 days+/-37.8 days (range: 1 day-140 days). Follow up data were available for 14/15 patients (93.3%), with a mean follow up time of 11.9 years. 6/14 patients (42.3%) had at least one burn-related readmission; indications included infection (2/14; 33%) and scar revision (4/14; 67%). 8/14 patients (57%) underwent a burn-related reoperation; one patient underwent 10 reoperations, while a second patient underwent six. 7/14 patients (50%) experienced chronic comorbidities, including decreased mobility (5/14; 35.7%), chronic neuropathic pain (2/14; 14.2%), and one instance each (1/14; 7.1%) of urethral stricture, nasal valve collapse, depression, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, and corneal thinning and lagophthalmos.
Conclusions: New York burn centers were able to successfully absorb a large density of unanticipated admissions, albeit not without protracted recovery courses. We believe that the nature and extent of the injuries and the event from which they were inflicted warrant documentation and, ultimately, reappraisal twenty years after the initial insult.
Back to 2022 Abstracts