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‘Invisible Diseases’ Continue to Affect 9/11 First Responders

October 27, 2014 | Michael Barasch

In a recent interview on the National Public Radio program “Here and Now,” 9/11 first responder John Feal said that he and the people who rushed to Ground Zero on that day 13 years ago are now suffering from “invisible diseases” that threaten their lives. 

The program, which aired September 10, detailed the health issues first responders have had to deal with in the years since 9/11, many of which are only now being diagnosed. Among the most common problems are respiratory conditions, such as sinusitis and asthma, and the likelihood of developing cancer has been shown to be at least 15 percent more likely for first responders than the general population. Thyroid cancer is particularly common for these individuals, with a 239 percent higher incidence rate than the norm. 

A variety of complications 

For John Feal, his health problems started when an 8,000-pound steel beam landed on him and crushed his foot, which had to be amputated. However, he said that his injuries pale in comparison to what other first responders have had to deal with, which is why he founded the FealGood Foundation in 2005. The organization aims to address what Feal believes is one of the most serious problems associated with 9/11 injuries: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also provides general support for first responders and their families in getting the benefits and compensation they need and deserve. 

The issues faced by the people who sacrificed so much on September 11, 2001 are enormous in scope, and it’s important that our society provides them with the support they need as they address their challenges. For the legal advice you need when seeking benefits or compensation due to injuries or illnesses sustained on 9/11, call on the experienced New York City lawyers at Barasch & McGarry.

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