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Injuries and Illnesses Treated at the World Trade Center, 14 September–20 November 2001

  • Kara R. Perritt (a1), Winifred L. Boal (a2) and The Helix Group Inc (a3)

In response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC), the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) deployed Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and the Commissioned Corps to provide on-site, primary medical care to anyone who presented. Patients included rescue and recovery workers, other responders, and some members of the general public.


A descriptive analysis of WTC-USPHS patient records was conducted in order to better understandthe short-term impact of the WTC site on the safety and health of individuals who were at or near the site from 14 September–20 November 2001.


The Patient Treatment Record forms that were completed for each patient visit to these USPHS stations over the 10-week deployment period were reviewed.


Patient visits numbered 9,349, with visits peaking during Week 2 (21–27 September). More than one-quarter of the visits were due to traumatic injuries not including eye injuries (n = 2,716; 29%). Respiratory problems comprised more than one-fifth of the complaints (n = 2,011; 22%). Eye problems were the third most frequent complaint (n = 1,120; 12%). With respect to the triage class, the majority of visits fell into the lowest category of severity (n = 6,237; 67%).


USPHS visits probably were skewed to milder complaints when compared to analyses of employer medical department reports or hospital cases; however, given the close proximity of the USPHS stations to the damage, analysis of the USPHS forms provides a more complete picture of the safety and health impact on those who were at or near the WTC site.

Corresponding author
Chief, Special Studies TeamSurveillance and Field Investigations BranchDivision of Safety ResearchNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health1095 Willowdale Road, M/S 1808Morgantown, WV 26505USA E-mail:
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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
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