NYC cop's death spurs call to monitor, treat others exposed to WTC debris
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.
By LUIS PEREZ
Newsday (New York)
David Reeve was already convinced. He didn't need to see a coroner's report that New York City police detective James Zadroga was killed by dust from Ground Zero.
Deborah Reeve, a paramedic, worked at the Ground Zero morgue for several months and died last month of a rare lung cancer, so Reeve said he knew what those dark clouds could do.
Today, Reeve, also a paramedic, is just waiting. Waiting for his wife's three-quarter pension checks to arrive, and nervously awaiting what ailments of his own he might discover.
"You didn't have to be a scientist to figure out that when two 110-story buildings fall and there is something burning beneath the rubble, that it isn't healthy," said Reeve, 45, of the Bronx, who unlike his wife wore a dust mask when he was at Ground Zero. "But we were there to do a job."
Reeve's is just one story that resonates in light of Zadroga's autopsy report, which was released by his family and the paramedics union this week.
Tens of thousands of city firefighters, cops, paramedics and residents are included in a massive city health registry tracking the lingering effects of 9/11. Many workers say they were not given proper breathing equipment and cite asthma and cancer as complications stemming from the debris. Dozens of families have sued because of deaths they say are linked to breathing in the dust from Ground Zero.
Zadroga, 34, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., retired on disability in 2004 after spending 470 hours sifting through the ruins wearing a paper mask. The autopsy said he died Jan. 5 from dust and debris, a "direct result" of working at Ground Zero.
On the heels of the report, some elected officials yesterday pressed the federal government to step up treatment programs.
"It is truly sad that 4 1/2 years after 9/11, the federal government still does not have a comprehensive plan to treat those who are suffering as a result of the attacks," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. "It is abundantly clear that we don't have any more time to lose."