On the morning of 9/11, Juana Lomi
was working as a paramedic with NYU Downtown Hospital. The since-renamed hospital had a history of responding to large scale emergencies, including the 1975 bombing of Fraunces Tavern and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. That Tuesday morning, Lomi was outside of the hospital when she heard a loud sound come from the direction of the World Trade Center and felt the vibrations of the crash. Without an official call to respond to the World Trade Center site, she and her partner drove over to assist. Among the first medical personnel to arrive, she and her partner parked on the north side of the site. Initially Lomi assisted other medical personnel with parking, directing traffic and setting up triage units near Vesey and Church Streets. While acting as a traffic director, she again heard the rumbling sound of an approaching plane and ducked under a fire truck to shield herself as Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. She quickly resumed her duties, encountering multiple injured people throughout the day.
When the South Tower collapsed, Lomi took shelter under an awning. Despite the dust and low visibility, she remained in the area and continued to direct people away from the World Trade Center, guiding as many people as she could to awaiting ambulances, sometimes fitting up to 20 people into them before departing the site. After taking refuge in a subway entrance during the North Tower’s collapse, Lomi eventually returned to NYU Downtown Hospital to aid the wounded there. Driven by feelings of guilt for not having been able to offer more assistance to the injured and dying at the World Trade Center, Lomi continued to work long hours at the hospital and would not return home for four days.