Witnesses and Dr. Oz aid tourist whose foot is severed by N.Y. taxi

NEW YORK - A British woman's foot was severed when a taxi jumped the curb in one of midtown Manhattan's most popular tourist areas Tuesday, and first-responders included TV personality Dr. Oz and food vendors who plunged the limb into a cooler for doctors to try to reattach.

The incident turned the area around 49th Street and 6th Avenue, near Radio City Music Hall, into a scene of chaos as the yellow cab veered onto the sidewalk and ground to a halt about 11 a.m.

The British tourist was thrown into some bushes. One of her feet, sheared off at the ankle, was beneath the taxi beside a sandal.

Inside the taxi, the driver sat with his hands in his head as witnesses surrounded the victim and screams filled the air. One witness, Max Crespo, told reporters that he and another man used a belt to apply a tourniquet to stop the victim's bleeding.

They retrieved the severed foot and put it into a bucket. A food vendor then put the limb into a cooler.

David Justino, a plumber who helped apply the tourniquet, said he was working to help the woman when he felt someone tap him on a shoulder. "I was a little bit angry. I said I'm waiting for a doctor," Justino told the person, whom he could not see. "He said, 'I'm Dr. Oz.' "

It was Mehmet Oz, who said he came to help after hearing the noise of the crash from inside the nearby studio where his television show, "The Dr. Oz Show," is taped. Oz credited the witnesses who crafted the tourniquet with saving the woman's life.

"The two of them were able to stop the bleeding," he said of Justino and Crespo. "You don't have much time. You pour out blood, it's coming out like a fire-hose basically when your leg is severed."

The young woman, identified in local media as Sian Green, was reported to be in critical condition, although police did not immediately confirm that. There was no word on whether doctors were able to reattach the foot.  

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Police said a bicyclist also was hit but not seriously injured. WCBS radio said the bicyclist, who did not want to be named, accused the taxi driver of cutting him off and speeding up as he rounded the corner from 6th Avenue onto 49th Street, setting off the chain of catastrophic events.

But WABC-TV said the driver had accused the bicyclist of cutting him off and causing the crash.


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