Number of Ground Zero Workers with Cancer Skyrockets

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 29-Aug-2014

Last year, the number of Ground Zero rescuers and responders who have developed cancer was 1,140—this year, that number has shot up to an astonishing 2,500. The World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital has recently counted 1,655 responders that have cancer, amongst the 37,000 police officers, hard hats, sanitation workers, and other city employees and volunteers it monitors. When firefighters and EMTs are added, the tally increases to 2,518.

One retired FDNY captain recently received $1.5 million from the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). As a result of toiling non-stop at Ground Zero for an extended period of time, the firefighter developed lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer. The captain was forced to retire in 2008 due to lung damage that would cause him to wheeze after fires. Last year, doctors discovered a large tumor entwined around his arteries, which they reported unable to remove without killing him. At the time of 9/11, the captain weighed 240 pounds. After rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, he now weighs 160 pounds.

While the captain's VCF award is mainly based on his lost wages, it also includes $250,000 for the pain and suffering he has endured. The firefighter has expressed his frustration with the VCF, because although he has received his benefits, everyone else has to wait two years. While VCF recipients get 10% immediately, they have to wait until 2016 to receive the remainder of their award.

As of now, 115 cancer claimants have been awarded, totaling $50.5 million, ranging in sums from $400,000 to $4.1 million. Studies have shown that 9/11 workers have been the recipients of certain cancers at a much higher rate than what is expected of the normal population. These types of cancers include thyroid, leukemia, prostate and multiple myeloma.

Being injured or growing ill as a direct result of your work can be an emotionally traumatic experience to go through. Here at Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund, we do everything we can to help our clients get the benefits they deserve after a work-related injury or illness. In fact, throughout our 50 years of experience, we have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. If you would like to find out more about the services our New York workers' compensation attorneys may be able to provide you with, be sure to contact our firm today.