U.S. Medicine Information Central
October 2001

USUHS Medical Teams Responded: Casualty Care Research Center Joins Park Police - Matt Mientka

WASHINGTON-While emergency medical teams deployed to the Pentagon and firefighters-just in case-readied themselves outside the White House Sept. 11, an obscure medical outfit from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md. provided support to law enforcement agencies moving various dignitaries and equipment around the city.

Joshua Vayer, an assistant research professor and director of the USUHS Casualty Care Research Center (CCRC), told U.S. MEDICINE last month that the CCRC was training with U.S. Park Police across the Anacostia River from the Pentagon when the hijacked plane hit the building. "We actually heard the impact of the plane hit the Pentagon and saw the smoke start to rise," he said.

Vayer said CCRC, which provides medical support to law enforcement agencies and their "protectees" during emergencies, sent two medical personnel to the Pentagon aboard a U.S. Park Police helicopter.

CCRC medic Jason Kepp told U.S. MEDICINE that the helicopter landed on I-395 outside the Pentagon and said that it took CCRC seven minutes to arrive after hearing the "whoosh" and subsequent crash of the airliner, Arlington County EMS and fire department personnel were treating victims, fighting the fire and interviewing witnesses when the CCRC medics arrived. "So we started triaging patients," Kepp said. "A lot of the people, believe it or not, moved out on their own and just stumbled as far as they could and fell where they were -that's how the triage started," he added.

While medical personnel at the Pentagon found 23 patients early in the crisis with severe burns, Kepp said he helped transport two of the most critical to Medstar, an area burn center, before ultimately leaving for New York City to help provide medical support to law enforcement agencies at the World Trade Center site.

According to Vayer, CCRC provides medical support to law enforcement agencies under a memorandum of understanding between USUHS and the agencies. The organization consists of six two-person teams of a board-certified military physician and an independent duty medic, who are assisted by a USUHS support specialist that provides medical informatics, intelligence, re-supply and logistics.

"There were a lot of motorcades going through the city with different dignitaries being moved," Vayer said, though he declined to cite dignitaries who were protected by law enforcement agencies and ensured of access to health care during the crisis.

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