Local News

London Bombing Victims Recovering At Duke Medical Center

Posted July 11, 2005

— Two American sisters injured in last week's London bombings are recovering at Duke University Medical Center.

Katie Benton, 21, and her younger sister Emily, 20, both of Knoxville, Tenn., were two of four Americans among the more than 700 people injured when a series of explosions targeted three subway stations and a double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday.

The Bentons, who were on the first day of their summer vacation, had just stepped onto a subway car when a bomb went off near Paddington Station.

"Literally, a minute after that, the train blew up," said Dr. Gregory Georgiade, who is treating the two at Duke Medical Center. "The lights went out, the train blew up. They described the sensation of felling like they were on fire. Fortunately, they were not."

After the blast, two British men, complete strangers, sat with them until help arrived. While not life-threatening, both girls do have extensive injuries.

The bomb blast left Emily Benton with some broken bones and skin missing on her feet, their family said previously on a Web site maintained by their church, Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Knoxville. Katie Benton suffered shrapnel wounds in her back and neck, her family said.

Because of the complexity of their injuries, the sisters' parents wanted them treated at Duke. Getting them there, however, proved to be a complicated process.

"Their passports were gone because of the explosion," Gerogiade said. "They had to be interviewed by Scotland Yard because of the investigation. And they needed paper clearance to leave the country.

About 24 hours later, the Bentons landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

"Katie made the point that she's not really sure why everyone was so interested in them. They're alive. They'll get well. The woman next to them was dead," Georgiade said.

Georgiade said the two women have weeks and possibly months of recovery ahead of them, but there is little doubt their healing is already underway.

"These young ladies are strong individuals," he said. "They have a lot of faith, a family who supports them, a community who supports them. They don't have much question about where they're going and what's going to happen."

The Bentons, who are believed to be the only two Americans still requiring hospital care, underwent a procedure called microvascular composite tissue transfer to help close the wounds on their feet. They are expected to be at Duke for at least two to three weeks.

Katie Benton is a student at the University of Tennessee, and Emily is a student at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in Knoxville.


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