WTC Health Program Helps Thousands of 9/11 Survivors, Influx of Patients Enroll

Thousands of 9/11 responders receive medical treatment and monitoring through the World Trade Center Health Program. Fifteen years after the attacks, a new wave of patients are seeking treatment for 9/11-related conditions.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the first responders and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments that thousands of responders and survivors receive medical treatment for 9/11-related conditions through the World Trade Center Health Program. According to a Newsday report dated September 8, 2016, a new wave of patients is coming in for illnesses 15 years after the attacks. Furthermore, physicians say these newer patients tend to be more ill.

A total of 2,977 people were killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks 15 years ago. Newsday reports that, according to advocates and experts, the number of people who die from a 9/11-related health condition will ultimately exceed that number. The World Trade Center released a toxic mix of dust when the Twin Towers collapsed and, over the years, researchers have seen a rise in the number of 9/11-related conditions. In the past two years, the number of 9/11-linked cancers has tripled to 5,441. Medical researchers say that, since cancers and diseases of the immune system take years to develop, even more cases are expected in the future.

“They told us back then in 2001 that if there were going to be problems, it was going to happen 10 to 15 years after the fact,” a WTC Health Program enrollee told Newsday. “Now it is happening. These are the lingering effects of 9/11.” The enrollee worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week for nearly nine months after the attacks.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the WTC Health Program received 2,500 new enrollees during the one-year period ending June 30. Including new enrollees, 75,000 people nationwide are being treated for health problems related to 9/11. Most of these individuals are rescue and recovery workers who had the greatest toxic dust exposure.

Treatment through the WTC Health Program takes place at five main facilities: Icahn School of Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital, the New York University School of Medicine, Northwell Health system, Stony Brook University Hospital, and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University. According to Newsday, health care providers have noted an influx of new patients, who generally seem to be sicker than prior patients. “What seems to be so surprising is that, even though it’s been 15 years, we continue to have new enrollees into the program,” said Dr. Benjamin Luft, director of Stony Brook’s clinic, according to Newsday. “We feel that the new people who are enrolling tend to be sicker than the old enrollees.”

Parker Waichman comments that the WTC Health Program and other Zadroga benefits are crucial to the health and well being of ailing 9/11 responders and survivors. “Updates such as these underscore the importance of the WTC Health Program,” said Keith E. Gitman, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “Fifteen years have passed and sadly, more 9/11 responders and survivors are becoming ill. The firm is proud to have been part of the fight for Zadroga reauthorization and continues to stand alongside 9/11 heroes.”

The time between first exposure to a carcinogen and the actual development of cancer is referred to as a latency period. For 9/11-related conditions, this period is 15 to 20 years. Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the Queens World Trade Center Health Program in Rego Park, New York, part of the Northwell Health system, commented, “So 15 years later, we are only at the very beginning of the curve for things like lung and asbestos-related cancers. Thankfully, the health program will outlive all of us.”

The firm fights alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and advocates to help ensure passage of Zadroga Act amendments, and vows to continue its efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure that all of the deserved Zadroga Act compensation is received. To determine eligibility for compensation under the Act, or for assistance with a claim, please visit Parker Waichman’s website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Release ID: 132731