He Will Never forget that day
Dr. Aleksandr Korniyenko holds people’s hearts in his hands. Based out of Tyler, Korniyenko is a cardiologist who services the Carthage area. However, Korniyenko is a New York native, and was in his third week as a first responder when the September 11 attacks shook our nation. He was only a mile and a half away when the towers fell.
This profound event propelled him on a course from treating trauma victims in the streets of his home state to pursuing a medical degree, and becoming a cardiologist.
“I became a first responder first and foremost to help people,” Korniyenko said. “As an added bonus, I thrive in emergency settings.”
Korniyenko was only 21-years-old when the Twin Towers fell, but he says he will never forget that day. That morning, Korniyenko was not supposed to report to work until 11 o’clock, but he awoke to smoke outside his window and multiple messages relaying the disastrous information.
“Facing the 9/11 attack was terrifying, being a new paramedic, but there was no time to think; just act and try to help as much people as you can,” Korniyenko said.
Korniyenko treated injured citizens on the street for 14 hours before leaving with a coworker who could no longer breathe in the smoky conditions.
“I woke up confused and restless on Sept. 12th,” Korniyenko said. “The reality of the previous day's occurrence hit me and filled me with sadness and gloom. The first thing that crossed my mind was the families who lost their loved ones that day. I prayed for strength to fathom what happened.”
Korniyenko says that it was difficult to talk about the attacks in the years following, but he has returned to Ground Zero multiple times to get together with other first responders and reflect on the lives that were lost there.
“I have come to see how delicate we are as humans and appreciate every day,” Korniyenko said.
Ultimately, Korniyenko left New York and continued to practice medicine in Connecticut before settling in East Texas.
“I became a cardiologist because I've always found the way the heart works is intriguing,” Korniyenko said. “I came to east Texas for a wonderful job opportunity and to raise my kids; I enjoy treating patients with cardiac illness and helping them live healthier lifestyles. “
Korniyenko is currently employed through Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants. He practices at two locations in Tyler and through ETMC Carthage.