Saturday, April 4, 2009

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Visits Miami Palmetto General Hospital And Views The Hospital Flt 401 Historical Photo Collection

The 1st floor hall area at Miami Palmetto General Hospital displays a vintage collection of Flt 401 crash photographs as seen behind tribute members who from left to right are: Jan (Minguzzi) Coviello, Benny F. Benitez, Ron Infantino, Mercedes V. Ruiz, Beverly Raposa and Catherine Smallwood
Surviving Flt 401 Flight Attendants Beverly Raposa and Mercedes Ruiz explain to Benny Benitez the details of the crash site from the vintage black & white photograph displayed at Palmetto General Hospital

Accompanying the series of vintage black and white crash photographs from Eastern Flight 401 displayed at Palmetto General Hospital is a write up titled "Crash" commemorating the hospital involvement which was instrumental in the saving and caring of many lives on that fateful night 29th December 1972
(Courtesy of Palmetto General Hospital)

Among the collection of photographs displayed at Palmetto General Hospital commemorating the importance in which the hospital played that night is a never before seen photograph of a male survivor, sitting on a stool, draped in a blanket, being illuminated by a field Lateran holding what appears to be a cup of coffee while surrounded by rescuers. Note the Aircrew flight helmet poised on the truck of a car. This one photograph conveyed a strong and captivating sense of "I survived"

Hialeah, Florida 4th April 2009: Palmetto General Hospital was the vision of 26 physicians practicing in Hialeah who recognized the opportunity for a quality medical facility to meet the increasing health care needs of the growing population. Charged with the responsibility of turning that vision into reality, a nine-member steering committee set the course for what would become one of the area's leading hospitals.
Palmetto General Hospital opened its doors on January 17, 1971 with 50 beds, 70 doctors and 100 employees. Twenty-three months after opening its doors on December 29th 1972, Palmetto General Hospital found itself tending to the survivors of worlds largest aviation disaster to date concerning the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 and the care of its survivors is an established part of the Palmetto General Hospital operational history, so much so that publicly displayed on the first floor hall way walls, after passing the reception area there is a series of never before seen large black and white, framed photographs of the crash site taken both during the rescue operation and what appears to be the morning after during the ongoing operation.

Today, the surviving members of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Committee paid a visit to Palmetto General Hospital to view what is also part of their history.
Today, the comprehensive health care facility, which serves more than 319,000 patients annually, has 360 beds, approximately 800 affiliated physicians and more than 1,500 employees standing ready to be called into action should another aviation disaster ever occur in South Florida.
Also today at the offices of surviving passenger Mr. Ron Infantino, both Catherine Smallwood and Benny F. Benitez were presented with the titles of "Honorary Committee Members" in appreciation for their time and dedication toward assisting the group and being a welcome driving force.

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