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Pandemic Adds More Worries to the Lives of 9/11 Survivors

Thousands of 9/11 first responders and survivors, already suffering from long-term respiratory problems and other complications due to exposure to Ground Zero toxins, now find themselves at additional risk due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

People with lung diseases like COPD, asthma, or lung cancer or with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of complications from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. As we know, lung cancer and respiratory issues are at the core of the many post-9/11 illnesses afflicting our heroes.

Donald Campbell, a Barasch & McGarry client who worked at Ground Zero for six months as an FBI agent on an evidence-response team, is among those worried about their enhanced risk during the pandemic. “I have interstitial lung disease and I also came down with skin cancer. Consequently, I am sheltering in place a good bit,” Campbell said in a recent news article that placed him among an estimated 20,000 9/11 survivors living in Florida with similar long-term health conditions.

It’s not just cancer that leaves survivors vulnerable to COVID-19. Chemotherapy takes a toll as well, leaving the immune system compromised or even destroyed almost completely. Jeffrey Conti, a 9/11 responder and Barasch & McGarry client, was diagnosed this summer with throat cancer that required radiation and chemotherapy. He also suffers from COPD and asthma as a result of toxic exposure. “My immune system is zero,” Conti told a Florida news outlet.

Conti and others in the 9/11 community are finding it hard to come to terms with the way the virus has been handled in the U.S. “Coming from a job where you put people before yourself, I find it mind-boggling that people tend to be selfish about this — putting on a mask is such a simple thing,” he said.

As the seasons change and the weather gets cooler, no one really knows whether the situation will worsen or improve, but one thing is certain: 9/11 survivors will continue to be more vulnerable than most and all of us should do what we can to protect them.

If you are a 9/11 survivor concerned about COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. And our attorneys are always ready to provide legal guidance. You can reach Barasch & McGarry’s New York office by calling 888-351-9421 or contacting us online. Initial consultations are free.

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  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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