Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On 6th anniversary, one more 9/11 victim

On September 11, 2007 another victim's name will be read from the list of victims who died in the attacks of September 11.

Felicia Dunn-Jones died just five months after the towers fell. The addition of Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old civil rights attorney, to New York City's Sept. 11 death toll occurred in a year that sharply focused on post-Sept. 11 illness — and the legacy of the cleanup of ground zero — more than ever before.

Doctors published more studies establishing direct links to respiratory illnesses and the exposure to the mixture of pulverized concrete, asbestos, mercury and other toxins that wafted over ground zero for close to a year. One study showed a powerful connection to sarcoidosis — the lung-scarring disease that killed Dunn-Jones — and city firefighters.

"We are not about to abandon the men and women who helped lift our city back onto its feet during our greatest time of need," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the time.

Three months later, city Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch surprised many by adding Dunn-Jones' name to the official Sept. 11 victims' list.

Citing "accumulated scientific research" that linked sarcoidosis to ground zero exposure, Hirsch wrote in May, "the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has thus concluded that Mrs. Dunn-Jones' exposure to World Trade Center dust on 9/11/01 contributed to her death and it has been ruled a homicide."

On Sept. 11, while her husband, Joseph Jones watched planes hit the towers from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, Dunn-Jones tried to escape her office a block from the north tower. She put a piece of clothing over her face but couldn't keep the choking, white dust out of her lungs, Jones said.

Dunn-Jones was added to Staten Island's Sept. 11 memorial first in 2005, but "we still hadn't given up on the 9/11 thing," he said.

After receiving letters from Feinberg, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and others, Hirsch reached a new decision on May 23.

No comments: