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Thursday, June 01, 2006

WTC responders illness worse than expected - BY RIDGELY OCHS

Doctors who treat World Trade Center responders say they are surprised almost five years later by the growing number seeking help for the first time -- 100 people a month in the biggest monitoring program -- and by the severity of illnesses among Sept. 11 workers already in treatment.
 
"There's no question there's continuing demand and many in the treatment program are quite ill," said Dr. Robin Herbert, codirector of the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.
 
Herbert, whose program has examined about 15,000 responders since 2002, said doctors are finding "remarkable persistence" in breathing disorders such as chronic sinusitis and asthma, stomach ailments such as gastrointestinal reflux disease and psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorder -- a suite of maladies one survivor called "my 9/11 plague."
 
Some patients also have come in with severe lung scarring, which can be fatal. And there have been cases of cancer, which worries experts, though they are unwilling to directly attribute them to exposure to Ground Zero toxins.
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