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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Finally, more support for Ground Zero responders

Advocacy and continuous pressure on legislators and officials make things happen

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: 50 types of cancer are to be added to the list of sicknesses covered by a $4.3 billion fund set up to compensate and treat people exposed to toxic smoke, dust and fumes in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Seventeen months ago, I commented on a bill signed by President Obama to pave the way for 9/11 rescuers to receive financial compensation for illnesses they contracted while working around the World Trade Center. 

Since then, a panel of scientists and technical advisors has recommended that several types of cancer be added to the list of eligible diseases, and it finally appears that most of those types will be.

While the process is painfully and frustratingly slow, at least progress is being made to help alleviate some of the pain and suffering public safety responders have had to endure. 

I must reiterate that advocacy and continuous pressure on legislators and officials will make things happen.

Many folks operating at many levels have obviously been doing a lot of work to show that responding to Ground Zero was a dangerous situation and that people have suffered because of it.

I'm appreciative of the effort and hope that our country will continue to support those who sacrificed their health and their lives to perform the job so few people were willing to do.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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