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Saturday, September 09, 2006
Dying nun wants her body autopsied
to prove 9/11 toxicity killed her
Susan Edelman and Julie Stapen, New York Post | September 8 2006
A nun who spent six months blessing human remains in the rubble at Ground Zero says she is dying of lung disease and wants her body autopsied to prove that she and her fellow 9/11 workers were sickened by the poisonous air at the site.
Sister Cindy Mahoney, 54, summoned David Worby, the lawyer representing thousands of sick Ground Zero workers, to her Aiken, S.C., hospice last week and requested that he act as her guardian and fulfill her dying wish by overseeing her autopsy after she's gone. "I can still do God's work," Mahoney said Thursday in Aiken, her hometown, where she lay connected to oxygen tubes.
She was surprisingly upbeat, even laughing at jokes — which reduced her to violent coughing.
"She's an angel," Worby told The Post after meeting with Mahoney privately. He said she hugged him warmly, cried, and told him how her previous pleas for help had gone unheeded.
"The government should help these An investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general into official statements about air quality after the collapse of the World Trade Center has found that White House officials instructed the agency to be less alarming and more reassuring to the public in the first few days after the attack.
The draft of the inspector general's report also says the agency "did not have sufficient data and analyses" to make a "blanket statement" when it announced seven days after the attack that the air around ground zero was safe to breathe.
"Competing considerations, such as national security concerns and the desire to reopen Wall Street, also played a role in EPA's air quality statements," the report said.
White House ordered 9/11 EPA lies
people — not leave them to die like I'm dying," she told Worby.
Mahoney, a former emergency-medical technician, dashed from a Midtown convent and hopped on an ambulance to Ground Zero after the first plane hit the World Trade Center's north tower on 9/11. She stayed there through the night. She then donned her habit and spent nearly every day for the next six months as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the city medical examiner's fatality team.
Officials said Mahoney was a chaplain at Ground Zero and at Pier 94, where she consoled relatives of those killed. She was photographed for People magazine that October, and told the publication, "Some people just want to hold our hand."
According to Worby, she now suffers from asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease — all severe illnesses that have plagued WTC workers.
Only after spending weeks at Ground Zero was she given a respiratory mask, Worby said, but she was not told how to use it. And because her job was to pray and talk to people, "she kept taking it off."
Mahoney also suffers post-traumatic stress syndrome, Worby and others said. She witnessed WTC victims burn or jump to their deaths, and prayed over countless human remains.
Unaware until recently that many others who worked at Ground Zero were sick, Mahoney last week tracked down Worby, an outspoken advocate for the health of 9/11 workers. He filed the first lawsuit for a leukemia-stricken NYPD detective who served at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills landfill, a case that mushroomed into a massive class action with 8,000 WTC workers.
If Mahoney joins the suit, she would leave any money to those in need, she said.
During the meeting, a priest friend, Father Scotty, gave Mahoney Communion.
"She would do it all again. She would give her life again," the priest said. "She still believes God's mission for her is to help, through her death, the other 40,000 rescue and recovery workers get medical care, testing and coverage," Worby said. "She feels that anyone who gave their lives for others should be taken care of better than she's been taken care of."
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posted by Vetzine