Sumary of ‘Luckiest man alive’: Why 9/11 first responders’ outlooks may improve even as physical health fails:
- Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez’s names are on the federal 9/11 legislation that establishes benefits for first responders.
- “I am the luckiest man alive,” Pfeifer, a former New York City firefighter, told me in 2017, just about two months before he died of cancer linked to his time working in the ruins of the World Trade Center.
- “I love doing this,” retired NYC police Detective Luis Alvarez told me 19 days before he died, the night before he testified to Congress in 2019 with Jon Stewart to help win passage of the legislation that would come to bear his and Pfeifer’s names.
- ” Having run into a toxic scene of chaos and destruction, as New York City firefighters and police officers did on Sept.
- But a new report released by the New York City Fire Department finds that Alvarez and Pfeifer are not rare cases.
- According to the extensive report on how members of the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program have fared in the past 20 years, about three-quarters of more than 15,000 Fire Department responders are now suffering at least one 9/11-related ailment, including 3,097 cases of cancer.
- Remarkably, even those with cancer reported their mental health-related quality of life as better than average.
- “What we’re seeing is a complete turnaround, where the mental health outcome, despite the illnesses going on, is a positive one,” said Dr. David Prezant, chief medical officer of the FDNY and director of its Trade Center program.