Even Though Physical Health Declines, First Responders’ Outlook Improves

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : September 13, 2021

The names on the federal 9/11 legislation that establishes benefits for first responders are Ray Pfeiffer and Luis Alvarez.

While both men were dying of cancer they fought to make Congress pass it. They also had another thing in common. They were content, in spite of all these hardships.

Even Though Physical Health Declines, First Responders’ Outlook Improves

A former NYC firefighter, Pfeiffer, thinks that he is the luckiest man alive. Just two months before he died of cancer, he said this.

Even Though Physical Health Declines, First Responders’ Outlook Improves

This cancer was linked to the time he spent working in the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Detective Luis Alvarez, who is a retired New York City police officer, said that he loved doing this. He said this just 19 days prior to his death.

Along with Jon Stewart, this was the night before he testified to Congress. He helped in the passage of the legislation that has the names of him and Pfeiffer.

He called himself blessed just after his chemotherapy treatment which was his 63rd. This was several months earlier.

Getting sick due to running into a toxic scene of chaos and destruction is not a recipe for any sort of happiness. On September 11, 2001, police officers and firefighters in NYC did just this.

It was found by a report released by the fire department in NYC that Alvarez Anne Pfeiffer is more common than one might think.

Doctors and researchers in the World Trade Center health program are performing a detailed tracking of the mental status of its responders and ever since 2006, they found that the mental health quality of life of these first responders was much better than average Americans.

It was in spite of their physical health declining consistently over the years.

About 3/4 of more than 15,000 fire department responders are currently suffering a minimum of one ailment related to 9/11.

This is according to a report that is extensively based on the ailments suffered by members of the FD and why World Trade Center health program in the last 20 years. Over 3000 of these people reported cancer, but even those with cancer said that their mental health was better than an average American’s.

The chief medical officer of the FDNY, Dr. David Prezant, said that despite the type of illnesses going on, we are seeing a complete turnaround in the mental health outcome which is always a positive thing. He is also the director of its Trade Center program.

It is hard to say definitely why a group might undergo outlooks on life-improving even though they are constantly suffering from problems related to health.

Phil said that he could not speak for others but was of the opinion that there was a lot to do with the sense of service in his brother’s case. His brother is Alvarez.

He added that what kept him going was the fact that he was able to keep helping people even though he was ill.

Phil Alvarez said that only towards the end did he see his brother hang his head down.

He asked his brother whether he was aware that things were not going well. His brother responded by saying that he knew but did not complain and even before that he had never complained.

He added that his brother was always concerned about others and that was what kept him alive.

A professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, George Bonanno, said that a hero or a survivor effect can lift a person’s spirit and research is emerging which supports this hypothesis.

He said that the sense of satisfaction that is taken from the actions of first responders keeps them going.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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