In an interview with ABC affiliate WVEC in Norfolk, Va., Motley Rice attorney Vince Parrett discusses the recent "historic decision" that will enable first responders and others who were at Ground Zero to receive medical services and treatment for certain cancers they developed after 9/11.
"What's changed in the last few months is that when Dr. John Howard, who is one of the chief medical advisors who runs the World Trade Center Health Program, when he formally recommended that cancers be included, many people started calling us."
In addition to the thousands who lost their lives or were injured during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, many others were hurt by exposure to environmental toxins (such as; asbestos and other carcinogenic materials, cement particles and glass fibers) that the attacks or cleanup work caused. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which President Obama signed into law in January 2011, broadened the scope of the original September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and expanded eligibility for compensation to first responders, cleanup workers, volunteers and other involved in the rescue and debris removal efforts.
Until now, however, numerous cancers have not been on the list of illnesses and conditions the Fund covered under the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. Federal health authorities have added 58 types of cancers to the list of covered illnesses, a timely decision that was announced on Sept. 10, 2012, just one day before the 11th commemoration of 9/11.
Parrett also said that he wonders if there will be enough money once the claims are made, "I hope they expand it, which they have the power to do."
Parrett, who represents 9/11 survivors and victims' families, has been an outspoken advocate about the need for cancer-stricken 9/11 survivors to receive compensation and a strong supporter of those whose efforts led to this decision. Read more about the Victim Compensation Fund.