While the nation's two metropolitan regions winced in shock,dumb luck struck two gynecologists in Washington,D.C.,Tuesday. Twice.
Jim Dolan and Ty Erickson,two doctors in the capital for an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists patient safety meeting,dodged the disaster at The Pentagon and then scored the last available rental car from a downtown Avis.
As Dolan drove the tan Chrysler Seebring LX down M Street with Erickson and two other colleagues in tow,the four surely could not help marvel at their fortune.
According to Erickson,a doctor from Idaho Falls,Idaho,ACOG usually holds this annual meeting at the Pentagon's Ritz Carlton. However,because of scheduling conflicts,the 2001 conference was moved to the L'Enfant Plaza area.
In the middle of Tuesday morning's meeting,a secretary received a call alerting the doctors of the tragedy at New York's World Trade Center. The conference disbanded and physicians from throughout the country scrambled to find a way home.
Aware of the nationwide freeze on air travel,Dolan hit the phones to D.C. car rental agencies. Two calls were fruitless; however,his third to Avis yielded a reservation.
The four walked from L'Enfant to M street and found Avis had nothing left,despite the reservation. Luckily,a woman returned her Chrysler as the doctors waited.
At 11:15 a.m. Dolan pulled onto M Street and headed home to Chicago. Erickson said if he can't get a flight out of Chicago O'Hare,he will drive to Idaho Falls.
“I have a full list of patients tomorrow morning,I am just hoping I can make it,” Erickson said.
The daily schedules and pressures will not change for these doctors,but they agreed Tuesday's bizarre tragedies will change quite a bit else.
“This is horrible,what else can you say? … It will change the way we live and think about travel,” Erickson said.
He said the events won't keep him from flying in the future,but he expects increased airport security. “ . . .The inconvenience of security (at the airports) will be worse,but the safety will be better,” he said.