HME industry remembers 9/11

Monday, September 30, 2002

MANHATTAN, N.Y. - The afternoon after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, ground zero looked like a war zone at the end of the day, said Seth Klein, president of HME distributor Complete Medical.

"Besides seeing it, if you can imagine some other sensations," said Klein, who visited ground zero the afternoon after the attack to deliver emergency medical equipment, including body bags. "The smell of burning bodies, for instance. The sounds of what was happening: police and firemen running and yelling; the smoldering fires."

And yet, Klein added, despite all the commotion, everyone was "absolutely speechless," floating in the same "boat of horror," and it seemed you could almost hear a pin drop.

A year later, with business more or less back to normal, Klein and other members of Manhattan's HME community still live with the fear and anger the terrorist attach inspired.

"I feel as an American that this was a travesty, a criminal act by criminal people who attacked our city and killed people," said a provider who asked that his name not be used. "It affected every aspect of life."

What fear remains now, resides in the back of your mind, Klein said. It's the fear of another attack. The fear of the unknown.

"It's not something that stops anyone in Manhattan from doing anything," he said. "You go forward, but there's the question: what could happen?" HME