Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Repaying Our Heroes With Disease, Financial Hardship and Death.

The devastating death toll for 9/11 responders and other World Trade Center workers nears 1,000, and no one knows why. So, doctors and some New York legislators are urging the "federal Department of Health and Human Services to draft autopsy protocols to pinpoint 9/11-related fatalities."

Of those nearly 1,000 people who died from 9/11 exposure, only a handful of deaths were officially linked to the toxins generated by the collapsed towers. And not before some of them were labeled drug abusers by the city. That's the thanks they get.

"It was heart-wrenching," said Joe Zadroga, who watched his NYPD officer son, James, slowly deteriorate from scarred lungs until he died in 2007.

Relatives and friends know in their hearts what really killed the hero in their family - even if health officials refuse to recognize it.

"I mean, we knew what he died from. We dealt with it for four years," Zadroga added.

A medical examiner in New Jersey had ruled James Zadroga died from 9/11 exposure, only to have the city declare - for a time - that drug abuse killed him.

The city later relented, but Zadroga is one of only a handful of people whose death has been officially linked to the toxins of the ruined twin towers.
As of June 2009, the death toll was approximately 916 responders.  Doctors believe the total will be well over 1,000 in the next survey this year.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a $7.4 billion bill that would re-open the 9/11 compensation fund for new payments, especially for claims based on health problems resulting from debris removal is currently waiting for Sen. Scott Brown's vote.    Meanwhile our 9/11 heroes continue to suffer, not only from the terrible physical and psychological symptoms that arose from all of the toxins they breathed in, as they labored endlessly, but from financial hardship, as well.Sept.
11 responders are headed for Massachusetts Tuesday, searching for the last vote they need to pass the 9/11 health bill in the form of Sen. Scott Brown.

Backers of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act believe they have 59 votes for the $7.4 billion measure, and they need one more to break any chance of a Republican filibuster of the bill. So far, just newly elected Sen. Mark Kirk is the only member of the GOP to get on board. Brown, responders hope, will be the second.
The Republicans are worried about bogus claims, illegal immigrants possibly getting help, and adding to the deficit. But isn't it funny how they're not worried about adding $700 billion to the deficit, should their Bush tax-cuts for the filthy rich get extended? 

A few words from just a few of the many 9/11 heroes:

"I'm a 40 year old retired cop from the First Pct. in lower manhattan. I was there the morning of 9/11 and worked over 2,100 hours in the pit the months that followed. My breathing ailments are too long to get into and I understand I will be heavily medicated for whatever time I have left. I'm writing this and urging passage of this bill for my kids sake. (Ages 8  and 6)What's done is done but at least give me the peace of mind of knowing they will be taken care of." --  Ret. PO Dave Smith (smitty 02/11/2009 2:54pm)
"This bill needs to be passed! My husband was there on 9/11 and suffered no ill effects until 2 years ago. He has had 3 operations and is now on all kinds of respiratory medications. It is a battle to get the medications covered and going to the doctors has become a full time job. He is waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is only the beginning, he can't even go anywhere without a WTC coughing fit. His quality of life has diminished rapidly and he is not the only one. He will ultimately be another casualtly of 9/11 and be degraded along the way. Please support this bill for all the workers who survived that horrific day only to suffer in the subsequent years.
Thank you from a wife who is watching her former hulk of a husband wither before her eyes." -- jkkdbm 02/09/2009 1:31pm
"I am one of the forgotten rescue workers who spent weeks and months in the "pit". I do not seek glory or a pat on the back for what I did. I live with the choices I made. I wouldn't change a thing except I hate to see my family watch me deteriorate. I can't do things I used to, I have no energy, I can't breathe, I can't sleep. I am waiting for the inevitable and it sucks. I never smoked and now I am on all kinds of respiratory meds and a machine at night. Please pass this bill, I am not the only one in this position. Passage will help the people and families of those who dedicated their time and for some, their lives, to help others in need. God Bless America!" -- smbfec 05/05/2009 1:38pm
"I am one of the very forgotten ones. I was a pure volunteer on 9/11, was one of the first on the scene to help rescue Will and John, have pics to prove it. But after going in circles with the powers to be about my health and what seemed to be a correlation between Mt.Sinai losing our info and my health care getting cancelled I wonder if I would do it again. It would be nice to know that it all wasn't for nothing. How quickly we were forgotten and treated like second class citizens. I never smoked and was in tremendously fit condition before my time at the WTC. Now I am plagued with respiratory and other health issues. All I hear is we're studying it and we'll let you know what if any help is available to you.So it's about time those of us who volunteered, weren't paid are remembered and at least given the dignity of good health care. We don't have union benefits to fall back on. It was bad for all of us that were there, we were there when you needed us now be there when we need you." - Drmini 07/13/2009 7:30pm
"I am a retired fireman who spent countless hours in "the pit". There are no pictures of me down at the site because i was deep in bowels of what was left of these buildings.
i used to run marthons now i can't walk up a flight of stairs with wheezing.i take eight medications and need a machne to sleep. i know there are men woman and children that are in worse shape than me, so i don't complain. i just want to urge our elected officials to to pass this bill.
Thank you and god bless" -- rescueman 06/25/2009 1:19pm
"Since my work at ground zero i almost died from mold infection in march 2002. I was in respiratory failure. I now have PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid cancer, chronic headaches, Acid reflux, Chronic fatigue, Sinusitis, Asthma,and concrete nodules in my lung. Wde share the same burdens. Many men are no longer able to work to support our familys.We cannot afford health insurance. I hope that as americans we are all united together. thank you and god bless -- wreckehead 09/04/2009 5:42am
"God bless Firefighter John Mcnamara E234 who passed in aug 09. Richie Mannetta E276 and PO's Diaz and Grossman from the 28 pct. All died this week of 9/11 related disease." -- jamesirc 10/11/2009 1:02pm

Sadly, almost two years later, I'm sure some of these brave rescue workers passed on, never having received the support they deserved.

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