Zadroga Act Update: COPD Is Now An Independent Injury

Author: Cynthia Diaz Shephard/Wed, Sep 07, 2016/Categories: Blog

COPD—chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—is now an independent injury under the Zadroga Act. This means that COPD is covered independently and without any prior diagnosis or tie with any other respiratory illness when making a claim under the Act.

The Zadroga Act is comprised of both the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTC Program provides treatment and monitoring, while the VCF provides compensation. Tens of thousands of people suffering from 9/11-related injuries are treated through the program and even more are monitored.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, responders and survivors were exposed to an array of dangerous substances, including asbestos, pulverized cement, and other toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens. Toxic exposure has been associated with a variety of significant, life-altering, life-threatening health conditions such as asthma, COPD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and scores of different types of cancer.

New-onset COPD previously became a covered injury under the Zadroga Act. At that time, according to the September 11th Families Association, only pre-September 11th COPD cases that had worsened due to the attacks were covered. Meanwhile, a growing number of recovery workers and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been dealing with attack-related COPD for years. Now, COPD is covered without prior diagnosis or association with another respiratory illness under the Zadroga Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Activity describes COPD as a progressively worsening lung disease that makes breathing difficult, even when attempting activities of daily living. COPD, which has no cure, may cause coughing with excess mucus, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing, among other serious symptoms. In the United States, COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis and is known under the names chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive airway disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, and emphysema.

When diagnosed with COPD, individuals experience reduced oxygen flow in and out of the lungs’ airways because the airways and sacs lose their elasticity (emphysema), the walls between the air sacs are destroyed (emphysema), the airway walls thicken or become inflamed (chronic bronchitis), and/or, the airways make excessive mucus, potentially causing clogs (chronic bronchitis) that adversely affect breathing.

COPD is a major cause of disability and is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Millions are diagnosed with COPD and many more may be unaware that they have COPD because of how slowly the disease develops.


Seventh Grader Hit and Killed on the Way to School

Author: F.A. Kelley/Tue, Feb 02, 2016/Categories: Long Island Accidents

A 12-year-old Long Island girl died after being struck by a car near a school on Monday morning.

The accident happened just after 7:30 a.m. in front of Martin De Porres School near the intersection of Elmont Road and Village Avenue in Elmont, New York, ABC7 Eyewitness News reports.

Police said the girl, her twin sister and a friend were jaywalking—they did not have a green light—as they were crossing the street to get to school.

The seventh grader at Elmont Junior High was struck by the car and thrown about 100 feet. The girl was taken to Franklin General Hospital where she died about an hour later. Eyewitness News said sources identified the girl as Gabrielle Johnson.

Philip Toussaint, a witness who was standing nearby when the girl was hit, said, “I saw her body flying over the hood of the car and luckily the body didn’t get run over. I don’t know how. He stopped a little before and the body was behind the vehicle. He was screeching on his brakes for a good 20 feet.”

Police say the driver of the car, a 38-year-old man from Far Rockaway, remained at the scene and tried to help the girl. Police are trying to determine his speed at the time of the crash: the speed limit is 30 miles an hour in the area. Witnesses say the driver was not speeding, but there was major damage to the hood of the car and what happened is still under investigation.

Elmont Junior High, where the three girls were headed, is about a block from the accident scene. In a statement, the school district superintendent offered condolences to the girl’s family and friends and said grief counselors would be made available to students and staff, according to Eyewitness News.

Students at Elmont Junior High told Eyewitness News they use this crossing as a shortcut to get to their school, though there is no crossing guard stationed there. Nassau police officers were at the crossing at dismissal time, monitoring students crossing the street.

The road was shut down for several hours during the accident investigation, Eyewitness News reports, but was reopened by the time school let out.


Man Hits Van in Driveway, Sending Van into Home’s Family Room

Author: F.A. Kelley/Mon, Jan 18, 2016/Categories: Long Island Accidents

A home in Hampton Bays, New York sustained significant damage when man hit a van parked in the home’s driveway, pushing it through garage doors into the family room.

Southampton Town police said the driver, A.J. Glass, 40, of Hampton Bays, was charged with driving while intoxicated after he crashed his 2002 Jeep into a 2008 Chevrolet van parked at the home on Gardenia Avenue, near Wakeman Road, in Hampton Bays at about 2:30 a.m. on January 15, 2016, Newsday reports.

The Jeep pushed the van through garage doors into the family room of the house, causing “pretty significant damage,” according to police. No one in the home was injured, but Glass was taken by ambulance to Southampton Hospital for treatment, Newsday reports. He was arrested after his release from the hospital, police said.

In addition to the drunk-driving charge, Glass was also charged with driving at unreasonable speed. He was arraigned on Friday in Southampton Town Justice Court and held in lieu of $2,500 cash bail, police said.



Huntington Accident Seriously Injures Driver; Closes New York Avenue for Many Hours

Author: F.A. Kelley/Mon, Aug 31, 2015/Categories: Long Island Accidents

A one-vehicle accident on New York Avenue in South Huntington on Friday, left the driver with serious injuries and closed the road in both directions reopened in both directions for many hours, police said.

Police responded to a 911 call at around 2:20 a.m. for an accident on New York Avenue, just north of Schwab Road, Newsday reports. Giovanni Saccente, 50, of West Babylon, was the sole occupant of the 1991 Mazda sport utility vehicle that hit a utility pole. Saccente was taken to Huntington Hospital and was later transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset with serious injuries, according to police.

New York Avenue remained closed between Schwab Road and Horton Drive, just south of the Walt Whitman Shops, as late as 2 p.m. At that time, a department spokeswoman said the road would be closed until PSEG crews could repair the utility pole. Kristina Pappas of PSEG said the road reopened about 5:30 p.m., Newsday reports.

Police ask anyone with information about the accident to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.



Man Arrested in Three-Vehicle Crash that Closes Portion of Long Island Expressway

Author: F.A. Kelley/Tue, Aug 18, 2015/Categories: Long Island Accidents

A Mastic man was arrested on Monday after he sideswiped a tractor-trailer on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills and hit another car, sending his own van rolling over, Suffolk police report.

The van driver, Corey Harrison, 35, was charged with being an unlicensed operator and with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, Newsday reports.

Harrison and the driver of the Honda he hit were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Newsday. Harrison was treated at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore; the Honda driver, who is 31, was treated at Huntington Hospital, police said. The truck driver was not injured.

The accident occurred just before noon, police said. Harrison sideswiped the Mack trailer near Exit 52-Commack Road, and then struck the Honda. The eastbound LIE between exits 51 and 53 was closed for more than two hours while police investigated and cleared the vehicles, Newsday reports.



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