The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines flight 93, the deadliest ever carried out on U.S. soil, took the lives of 2,977 people. Now, nearly 20 years later, the number of people who have died of 9/11-related illnesses exceeds the number killed on that tragic day.
An article published by Newsweek on the 19th anniversary of the attacks reported that 3,946 members of the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which supports first responders and survivors, have died in the years since 9/11. Sadly, the illness-related death toll is likely even higher, because only five percent of survivors have registered for the WTCHP. There were 400,000-plus people estimated to have been exposed to toxic dust and debris during the WTC attack and its aftermath.
Of the 125,000 program members, 18,000 have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers, according to Newsweek. That’s a 14 percent cancer rate among members. Assuming the same rate among the remaining people exposed on 9/11 who aren’t in the program, more than 38,000 more people who were at Ground Zero may have 9/11-related cancer.
While cancer has been the most common affliction, heart problems are another major cause of severe illness and death among first responders. A 16-year study of firefighters published in 2019 showed an abnormal frequency of heart attacks, coronary bypasses, angina, cardiomyopathy and other forms of cardiovascular disease in firefighters who were present on 9/11 and during the days afterward.
As 9/11 illnesses as deaths mount, it is critical that anyone who was at Ground Zero enroll in the WTC Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). There is compensation and health care available through these programs. Far too many people affected by dust and debris either don’t know that these programs exist or don’t know how to enroll. Enrollment is free to anyone who qualifies, and Barasch & McGarry is more than glad to enroll anyone in the program.
Enrollment is especially important in the COVID-19-dominated world. The virus is particularly devastating to anyone who has a compromised immune system or underlying health problems like cancer.
First responders and survivors suffering from 9/11-related illnesses and the families of those who have died deserve dignity, respect and advocacy. The attorneys at Barasch & McGarry are devoted to helping the 9/11 community. We would be pleased to help you enroll in the WTC Health Program and the VCF. Call 888-351-9421 or contact us online for a free consultation with our team.