The 12th and final burn victim from the September 11 World Trade Center attack has been released from a New York hospital. Donovan Cowan, a 34-year-old accountant, was on the 84th floor of the second tower struck by a hijacked airliner.
Donovan Cowan managed to walk down 84 floors after the second plane struck the World Trade Center, despite burns to 50 percent of his body.
Surrounded by family and doctors as he left the hospital, he told reporters that he felt he had no choice but to try to exit the building toward safety. "I felt I knew that a lot of people were relying on me in my life, and that is what made me do it," he said.
The last five-months have been grueling for Donovan Cowan, who underwent four skin grafts and had to learn to walk again. But he said not once during that time did he ever think of giving up. "Just knowing I had a family behind me that wanted me to survive gave me the will to do it," he said.
But it is not over yet. Donovan Cowan is being transferred to a rehabilitation center, where he will have another few months of hard work toward recovery. Donovan's mother Jasmine, a constant figure at his bedside since September 11, believes her son will prevail. She said his progress to date is a good omen. "One step at a time. One finger at a time. That is how Donovan now is able to get up. If you want him to get up from here, he can get up and walk. That is wonderful," she said.
Medical workers who cared for Donovan Cowan during the past five-months seemed almost as emotional as Donovan's family. Dr. Gregory Bauer said he was not sure at times that his patient would pull through.
Dr. Bauer called Donovan a hero because he was able to survive against overwhelming odds and create a new life for himself. "He managed with those injuries to walk down 84-flights," he said. "I think this demonstrates the best survivability of the human nature. It is to be applauded, definitely."
Donovan Cowan is one of the lucky ones. So many people who were in the World Trade Center last September 11 never even had a chance to try. His release from the hospital was celebrated as a big event, in a city still reeling from the aftershocks of that day of terror.