LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Plea for Help from 9/11 Rescue Workers to Rudolph Giuliani Went Unanswered
[The following letter was e-mailed to Rudolph Giuliani on May 29th, 2007 by September 11th rescue workers left to fend for themselves after suffering illnesses caused by their work at ground zero in the days after the attacks. They never received a response.]
May 29, 2007
Dear Mr. Giuliani,
As you know, tens of thousands of New Yorkers like ourselves came together on September 11 to help search for survivors, rescue victims, and begin to clean-up after the attacks on our great city. Many of those first responders including James Zadroga, Cesar Borja, and Debbie Reeve developed debilitating health problems after breathing the toxic dust from the collapsed World Trade Center towers. Thousands of 9/11 responders, whose heroic efforts helped our city and country get back on its feet quickly, have attempted to get much-needed medical attention to help recover from their illnesses. For six years, we have pleaded with the Federal government for help, but have received nothing, but even worse, we haven’t received straight answers from our own government.
Mr. Giuliani, in your speech at a Hoover Institution meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 26, 2007, you stated that you have never heard anyone tell you that they want to leave the country to get care because the U.S. has the “best healthcare system in the world.” The two of us, along with our friend and 9/11 responder, John Graham, actually did leave the country to receive free healthcare that we couldn’t get here in the United States.
For the last several weeks, we have been publicly attacked by your Republican party for traveling with filmmaker Michael Moore to Cuba, where we received free healthcare from doctors. Michael Moore, who took us to Cuba for his new documentary on the U.S. healthcare system called “SiCKO,” is now being investigated by the Bush Administration for taking us to Cuba, a trip we decided to take only after the U.S. government and healthcare system failed for the last six years to provide the support for medical treatment we needed. Our health needs have been ignored and forgotten by the very government that celebrated our sacrifice in the days after that tragedy. And now, the Bush Administration and other conservatives seem more interested in investigating our trip to Cuba than in helping us get the health care we deserve.
Mr. Giuliani, the key message you continue to convey to the American people in your run for the Republican nomination for President is your leadership on September 11. You talk about what it was like to be making critical decisions on September 11. There is no doubt that you were on the ground and witnessed the heroic work of the first responders that day. If there is anyone who should know and understand what the 9/11 responders are going through, it is you. Given the fact that you are running for President, we would like to meet with you to discuss what your plans are for helping the health care needs of 9/11 responders if you become President. We want to share our experiences with you so that if elected, you will understand why many Americans are leaving the country to get healthcare elsewhere because they cannot get it here.
Just last week, the city of New York agreed to include on the official list of September 11 victims a woman who died as a result of dust from the twin towers’ collapse. We have watched our friends suffer and die from medical conditions as a direct result of working on Ground Zero. We have health conditions that have cost us employment and put us in very difficult financial situations. Our lives have been changed forever. Our government likes to talk about the fact that we are heroes, yet we continue to be ignored. We deserve the opportunity to sit down with you, someone who watched thousands of first responders in action after September 11, to discuss the issues thousands of us are facing today. Show us that our voices will not be ignored if you are elected President.