9/11 and the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner
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On September 11, 2001 two hijacked airplanes struck the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. All of the remains (19,915) were examined by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) of New York City. The major goals of the OCME were to accurately identify the decedents and to promptly issue death certificates. As of September 2005, there were 1594 identifications of a total of 2749 people reported missing. Of these, 976 were identified by a single means, which included DNA analysis in 852 of the victims. Use of legal statues can assist in the timely issuance of death certificates in mass fatalities, which benefit surviving family members. DNA analysis markedly improves the ability to identify remains and has become the standard method for identification in these types of disasters. Certain postmortem tissue samples are better suited for DNA analysis and yield better results than others.
Key WordsForensic pathology terrorism fatalities mass disaster
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