While based in Ohio and incorporated in Delaware, our company’s roots are in New York, as both Mahesh and I were present in New York and witnessed the terrible attacks of that day. Unbeknownst to the two founders at the time, we were bound by an incredible, inspirational and tragic story from the World Trade Center attack on 9-11.
A friend of my sister-in-law’s family, Abe Zelmanowitz, was a computer programmer and member of Mahesh’s staff at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, at the time housed on the 27th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Abe had a good friend at work, Ed Beyea, who was disabled and wheelchair bound.
When the first plane hit 1 World Trade Center at 8:46AM, the office on the 27th floor was relatively intact and most were able to make it to the stairwell and out of the building to safety. Being disabled, however, Ed did not have an accessible way out of the burning building. He made the decision to wait for firefighters to come and evacuate him…. help, that in hindsight, did not arrive in time. As a healthy and able bodied employee, Abe had an easy path to safety, but instead elected to wait with his friend and coworker, so as to reassure him and assist him with anything that he needed. Abe even had the presence of mind to send Ed’s medical assistant to safety with the rest of the members of the office so as not to put anyone else at risk. Witnesses describe seeing Abe assisting Ed in his evacuation attempts, struggling mightily in the stairwells to bring his disabled colleague to safety. Sadly, his heroic efforts were insufficient, and both were trapped when 1 WTC collapsed at 10:28AM.
My family’s friend, Mahesh’s coworkers, engaged in one of the many selfless and heroic acts from that emotional and tragic day.
Then, as now, we remain committed to selflessly serving others, helping those in need and, most importantly, doing the right thing regardless of the cost.
A final note: My decision to enter pulmonary and critical care as a specialty was largely influenced by Dr. David Prezant, the Chief Medical Officer for the NY City Fire Department, the first physician to arrive at the WTC on 9-11, and the lead researcher for 9-11 related lung diseases. Dr. Prezant similarly threw caution to the wind and risked his life to help others in the face of great danger, and has subsequently dedicated his life to helping those first responders who are suffering the debilitating effects of that choice (see https://www.nytimes.com/2006/
The careers, decisions and ethos of MediOrbis founders were deeply influenced by the events of 9-11.
We would therefore like to dedicate this month’s company email to commemorate the 2,977 who lost their lives on 9-11, and the hundreds who have passed subsequently owing to sequelae of injuries or exposures from that day.