As investigators continue to look into what caused Friday's Metro-North derailment, seven passengers remain hospitalized, including one still in critical condition. One commuter who sprung into action shared his story with Channel 3 Eyewitness News.
A trauma doctor from Yale-New Haven Hospital just happened to be on the train heading to work.
"I was sitting in the front car and it started to buck, started to shake," Dr. Daniel Solomon said. "But I think everyone in the car had no idea it was anything more serious than that. All of a sudden the car started to fill with smoke. It billowed forward and the car filled with people from the other cars screaming, ‘we have to get out of here, we have to get off this train.'"
Solomon, the chief resident of trauma surgery at YNHH, said his training took over immediately.
"I said, 'I'm a trauma surgeon at Yale, is there anything I can do?'" he said.
Heading towards the back of the train, Solomon said he could see the destruction and hear the cries for help. People were covered in blood, others were carried from the train, and a woman, who was thrown from the car on impact, was dazed and lying on the tracks.
Just like working in the emergency room, Solomon started triaging patients, placing them into groups according to the seriousness of their injuries.
"The only difference was I didn't have nurses, I didn't have CAT scans, I didn't have any of this equipment, but I was going through the same protocols, and waiting for the cavalry to arrive," Solomon said.
He said there were dislocations, broken bones, cuts and lacerations. He said two other doctors on the train joined to help, along with a number of commuters.
"I had people holding compressions on lacerations and using everyday commuters to hold cervical spine traction so that any patients with a spine injury didn't exacerbate it by moving around," he said. "Everybody was happy to do their part."
As for his part, Solomon said he was just doing his job.
"I didn't do anything but carry some people off a train and used the skills I learned at Yale for the last six years," he said. "They arrived and did the heavy lifting, got these patients quickly and safely to the hospital and the doctors at Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent's are the ones doing the real important work."
While Solomon was able to take those skills learned in the ER as a trauma surgeon and assist those injured commuters, he said he actually wants to help kids. Starting next year he'll begin his fellowship in pediatric surgery.
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