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9/11 responders hope for a miracle

In the doctor’s office, Ken George sat with sweat trickling down hisbrow. Each time he’s here, he fears the worst.

In the doctor’s office, Ken George sat with sweat trickling down his brow. Each time he’s here, he fears the worst.



In the past 10 years, he’s had a heart attack, clogged airways, lungs scarred by the “9/11 cough,” sleep apnea and post-traumatic stress disorder.



George, 47, a retired Department of Transportation worker, hauled body parts from Ground Zero for six steady months after 9/11. A bill to help him is stuck in Congress — senators plan a last-ditch push this week — but for George, and the growing number of responders sick from the toxic fumes, the doctor’s appointments continue.



His visits didn’t end here. George also sees a psychiatrist, a social worker and a lung specialist.

Some friends, he said, talk of suicide if the bill is not passed. The burden their families bear is too much, they say.



“Would I do it again?” George said. “No, I don’t think I would. Because nobody cares about my family if I die.”



Long-term effects still a mystery



Illnesses
like Ken George’s reflect exposure to toxins, said Dr. Mark Kaufman.



»
“It’s not by coincidence” that the 9/11 responders he sees suffer from
progressive lung, throat and gastronomical problems, he said: “They
actually burned the insides of their bodies.”

» Nearly 10 years
after 9/11, “None of us knows what the future brings,” Kaufman said
about long-term effects.

 
 
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