Terror casts a long shadow

Terror casts a long shadow

Fifteen years after the tragic events of September 11, Australian research is shedding light on the long-term effects on the medics who worked at Ground Zero.

This important work could improve disaster response education here in Australia – helping to keep our own ambulance and emergency workers safer if a major disaster were to happen here.

Dr Erin Smith from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences has spent the past 15 years researching the long-term impact that working at Ground Zero had on the paramedics.

“Even 15 years on, 9/11 continues to devastate lives,” Dr Smith said.

“Of the 54 medics that I interviewed, 13 have been diagnosed with cancers linked to their exposure to Ground Zero and all report at least one new illness that has developed due to their time responding to the terrorist attacks.

“Medics who responded to 9/11 are still plagued by nightmares, vivid recollections of Ground Zero, and suffer from anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith said the research would help shape disaster response education in Australia.

“We have to be able to learn from and understand the range of long-term health and psychosocial impacts on the 9/11 medics and their families, to help reduce similar impacts on Australian paramedics and their families in the event of a large-scale disaster on our soil,” she said.

Read more about their findings here. [Story credit: ECU newsroom]

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