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New York Post

9/11 ILLNESSES 'GET WORSE'

By SUSAN EDELMAN

July 2, 2008 —Of 10,000 Ground Zero workers suing the city, medical records show 67 percent suffer respiratory ailments and 45 percent have a gastrointestinal disease, their lawyers claim.

The numbers, filed in court last night, aim to rebut the city's argument that 30 percent have "only nominal injuries" and that serious claims are not proven.

The lawyers say they're still collecting records from Mount Sinai Hospital, which has treated thousands of 9/11 responders.

"As information continues to be received, there is a clear picture that these plaintiffs' conditions are tending to get worse, not better," the lawyers say.

They claim that most 9/11 responders suffer three separate illnesses.

The lawyers' tally includes: 4,517 people with upper respiratory ailments; 3,857 with lower respiratory illness; 398 with lung disease; 2,616 with asthma; 1,340 with sleep apnea; and 2,528 with a heart condition caused or worsened by 9/11.

The city already has FDNY and NYPD medical records, the lawyers say in a letter to Manhattan federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

"These were New York's 'Finest' and 'Bravest' and, accordingly, the fittest" before 9/11, it adds.

Citing NYPD cop Frank Maisano, who has nodules in his lung and suffers from asthma, the letter blasts the suggestion that he and other 9/11 responders are "malingerers."

susan.edelman@nypost.com