Doctor Thomas Burke of Massachusetts General Hospital was in a hotel room in Benghazi, Libya last Tuesday night, planning a meeting with Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who died in an attack on the U.S. consulate that night.
The two had planned to discuss a 10-year effort to establish Benghazi’s first modern emergency care department and pre-hospital care system. But when Burke spoke on the phone with an attache at the U.S. consulate, the attache yelled “Oh My God” and hung up, and Burke, who was a mile from the consulate, felt a huge blast that turned out to be the attack on the American consulate that fatally injured Stevens.
Later that night ambassador Stevens was brought to the Benghazi Medical Center and pronounced dead. It was the very place where Stevens and Dr. Burke were scheduled to meet to discuss their plans for Libya’s health care system.
- Dr. Thomas Burke, chief of the Division of Global Health and Human Rights in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital