BY ANTHONY O’REILLY
Nearly 12 years after the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center for Excellence opened a new facility in Rego Park – its third in the borough – to treat workers suffering from 9/11 related illnesses.
Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the center, said the new building would allow for the center to care for more 9/11 first responders than it previously could. The new 3,650-square-foot building is about 50 percent larger than the center’s Flushing site.
The new facility received $3.85 million under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which Congress passed in 2011 in order to provide care for more than 3,000 Queens workers who were at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11.
Moline said she had worked with first responders during the first WTC bombing in 1993 and after the events of 9/11, she said she knew she would have to help those who were on the pile.
“I knew I had to help because I knew what was in those buildings,” she said.
Moline also testified in Congress about the health risks that working at Ground Zero posed to workers.
She said the new center would help provide extra assistance to 9/11 first responders, who previously might not have had access to health care.
“We’re really thrilled to open a new space and see new patients,” she said. “We’ll be able to provide an additional resource to those who have any illnesses from working at the World Trade Center.”
Lorelei Sander, a retired NYPD officer who was at Ground Zero, said she developed a cough days after first arriving at the scene. Her cough then developed into respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing and sleep apnea.
At first, Sander received treatment at Mount Sinai.
But after going to one of the center’s sites in Queens, she says her health has greatly improved, plus she has the added convenience of visiting a doctor in Queens.