World Trade Center burn victim released from hospital: 'I want to get back to the way I was'

Tuesday, January 29th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A woman who was severely burned at the World Trade Center was released from the hospital Tuesday after four months of treatment, saying ``I want to get back to the way I was.''

Her face bandaged, Elaine Duch, 49, told reporters at Weill Cornell Hospital's Burn Center that she was on the 88th floor of one of the twin towers on Sept. 11 when she was injured. Rescuers helped guide her down.

``I thank God that I'm here today,'' said Duch, who was wearing an FDNY baseball cap. ``Because when I got hurt on 88, I said, 'God save me,' and he did.''

Duch's burns were severe enough that she was given last rites before she was rushed to the hospital. Her glasses shattered from the heat.

``I don't know if I was on fire,'' she said.

Paul Adams, an emergency medical technician who helped rescue Duch, visited her in the hospital every Sunday.

``She's a big inspiration,'' Adams said. ``Elaine is definitely special _ I think one in a million.''

Duch is the 11th trade center burn patient to be released from the medical center. She was brought there in ``very critical condition'' on Sept. 11 with burns over 77 percent of her body and severe smoke inhalation injuries.

She said a strong will helped keep her alive. ``I didn't want to die,'' she said.

She also considers herself lucky enough for a vacation.

``Definitely Atlantic City,'' she said. ``Paul's going to take me.''