9/11 victim receives payout for cancer related to terrorist attack
NEW YORK - For the first time since the deadly 9/11 terrorist attacks, a victim with a type of endometrial cancer has been awarded a substantial sum of money from a payout that acknowledges that her illness is directly linked to 9/11.
"Prior to January 18, 2023, her cancer was not recognized as being linked to the 9/11 toxins. She could not get free health care. Her family and her could not get compensation. So it's a tremendous win for our client. For women within the 9/11 community," said Sara Director, a partner at Barasch and McGarry, a law firm which handles cases of 9/11 victims. "Not a day goes by that we don't get new clients calling us, that we don't get family members saying, ‘My loved one, my wife, my sister, my aunt, my mother passed away from uterine cancer.’ And it wasn't until now that we connected the dots."
The victim in her 60s has chosen to remain anonymous. She was not a first responder. She was an office worker and her cancer is terminal.
The money will help her family care for someone with a terminal diagnosis, according to reports.
"She went to work every day after 9/11 because she was told the air was safe and she had to go back to work. She's you. She is me. She is the people we see commuting on the trains in Lower Manhattan. She breathes the same air as our hero first responders," continued Director.
File: Firefighters walk towards one of the tower at the World Trade Center before it collapsed after a plane hit the building September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)
It has taken 22 years for uterine and endometrial cancers to be recognized, in part because most of the data on 9/11 illnesses has come from first responders; the vast majority are men.
"Every step of the way since 9/11 has been a battle for us. It's been an obstacle, it's been a wall, it's been a hurdle, it's been denial, it's been neglect, it's been poor leadership. And we're here. We are still fighting," said John Feal, a 9/11 advocate.
The victim's compensation fund is fully funded for those aged 20-90.
Victims are eligible for lost wages, pain and suffering and compensation for wrongful death if they die from a 9/11-related illness. They are allowed to file multiple claims, to help fight multiple issues.
"Here's the thing about the World Trade Center health program," Feal added. "You have a higher success survival rate in the 9/11 community than the general population community, because these doctors have 22 years now of expertise in environmental diseases that attack these organs. And while that statistic is hard to like, wow, it's fact. We have it on paper."