February 22, 2007
NYC Residents and 9/11 Illnesses
Article in the New York Times -- After 9/11, Ailing Residents Find a Place to Turn, by Anthony DePalma:
They say they suffer the same rasping cough, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal pains as thousands of rescue and recovery workers who fell ill from the dust and smoke at ground zero. They worry, as the others do, that the future may bring more health problems.
Yet residents, workers and students who returned to Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attack say that their medical problems have largely been overlooked as officials focus increasing attention on the responders who were more exposed to the hazards.
Mr. Chaves, 53, developed asthma and severe acid reflux about a year and a half after Sept. 11, 2001. As his condition worsened, he tried to find out whether it was connected to the dust he had breathed in after the twin towers collapsed. Then last fall he heard that the city was giving millions of dollars to Bellevue Hospital Center to treat people excluded from other programs, like the one that monitors and treats recovery workers at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Since that announcement in September, the number of people being treated at the W.T.C. Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital has doubled to more than 900. Several hundred more people are on a waiting list, including many low-income residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and immigrant workers without health insurance. And after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last week encouraged residents who might have been exposed to the dust to be checked by the clinic’s specialists, the number of patients is expected to rise substantially.
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