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Terrorist Attack Burn Victim Goes Home From Hospital

Aired October 3, 2001 - 05:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Another sign that American life is on the road to recovery now, a survivor of the September 11 attack is now home from the hospital. Now we first met Manu Dhingra just after the attack as he was being treated for some massive burns that he suffered. And our medical news correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta now brings us up to date on a remarkable story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU DHINGRA, TERRORIST ATTACK VICTIM: I'm feeling great. I'm feeling excellent. These people have done a wonderful job. I still have a lot of pain. I mean let's not -- you know, I'm still -- like I need medication to help me with the pain and everything and I'll be in rehab for a while.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three weeks after flames from the World Trade Center attack burned nearly 40 percent of his body, Manu Dhingra went home from the hospital. He was on the 83rd floor of building 1 on September 11. Four days after the attack, we met him while he was still confined to a hospital bed.

UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: Pain from the surgery or is it pain from the burns?

DHINGRA: All of a sudden as I'm walking in the hallway, I hear a door explode and just this big ball of fire just engulfed me. I just froze. I didn't do anything. I just stood there. And I ran into my office and screaming I'm burnt, I'm burnt. There's a bomb -- bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: He's lost the pigment in his face so he's sort of pink or white appearance. And he went to the operating room on Friday and had the burns removed from his arms and his hands on both sides and took skin from his legs to graft to that area.

GUPTA: Trauma can leave lasting emotional scars, but the pain of remembered terror is lessened by recalling the heroism of friends.

DHINGRA: I owe a lot to my friends. Even though they couldn't grab me because I was burnt all over and it really hurt to touch, but you know, they cleared the way. One person was in front of me, one behind me and they got me water and they lied to me a couple of times. Well when I wanted to sit down and rest for a while, they're like no, there's only 10 more floors to go when there's like 60 more, you know. So I owe them a lot for lying to me, thank you.

GUPTA: And the pain of millions inundated with images of death and sadness are perhaps lessened by the humility and the hope of a survivor going home.

DHINGRA: Everybody over here has been so upbeat and they're all happy about me leaving. And I have been very happy about -- I'm very happy about leaving also, but at the same time, I just -- I have such deep sorrow that, you know, that this is happening and I really I don't know why I don't feel that I deserve this. I don't know why. I don't deserve the second chance but I have it so I have to make the best of it and I will.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Regrettably, not all of the stories have as positive an ending as Manu Dhingra's.

Here are the latest figures released by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Nearly a month after the September 11 attack, 5,219 people are still unaccounted for at the World Trade Center site, 363 are confirmed dead and of those, 301 have been identified.

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