Sick and injured 9/11 first responders appeared before Congress on June 4th in Washington and pleaded for the extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. 9/11 WTC related cancers continue to rise as predicted and without this extension people may not survive their 9/11 related illnesses.
In a recent CBS interview, retired NYPD officer David Hawley spoke about the fate of cancer-stricken 9/11 first responders if the bill isn’t extended. He has had his own battle with a rare throat cancer that was a direct result of being exposed to Ground Zero toxins and debris. Hawley told CBS, “People are going to die, the men and women that are sick that are being taken care of now. I’ve only been cancer-free a little over a year.” He adds, “To end this program, people are going to die.” I think Officer Hawley says it simply but powerfully. Congress MUST listen!
Over 2,500 first responders, area workers, and survivors have been diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer and may have Victim Copensation Fund claims in the future. CBS also reports that out of these, 1,000 firefighters have been diagnosed with a 9/11 World Trade Center related cancer.
Doctors at the World Trade Center Health Program have dedicated years learning about the best treatments and care of 9/11 related cancers. If the law is not extended, sick 9/11 responders and survivors will have no choice but to resort to doctors that have little experience with World Trade Center cancers and other related illnesses. Private insurance or Medicare may not cover them to continue with their current WTCHP doctor.
Physicians who are not occupational disease specialists and have little understanding of the treatment and diagnosis of 9/11 related illnesses would not only put lives at risk, but would also potentially hurt the responder’s 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claims. Doctors who do not have experience with 9/11 illnesses may not know how to document whether or not a diagnosed cancer was a directly related to being exposed to World Trade Center toxic dust. World Trade Center Health Program doctors know “latency periods” and other factors that enable them to certify cancers and other illnesses as 9/11 related.
The World Trade Center Health Program treats over 3,000 people who have been diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer. It is expected that many more responders and survivors who were exposed will unfortunately become sick with cancer in the future.
This is even more of a reason to keep the WTCHP open so that anyone who was exposed to World Trade Center toxins can get their free yearly monitoring – early detection of cancer can save lives. There are latency periods in which certain cancers are not expected to surface until many years after exposure. This has prompted advocates for the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act to seek a 25-year extension on the bill. Sick 9/11 responders now live in almost all 50 states. Is your Senator or Congressman listening?
Sign up here to let them know you want the James Zadroga 9/11 Act extended so that those with cancer and other 9/11 related medical conditions can get the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.