Friday, November 30, 2012
Damaged homes causing illness
Patrick Zoda has been working nonstop for a month, trying to save his Staten Island home after it was badly damaged by Sandy. As he works, the debris cloud filling his house has also been filling his lungs.
“I feel totally drained, tired," Zoda told NBC 4 New York. "Every morning I wake up coughing."
Dr. Brahim Ardolic, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, says he has seen a greater number of patients with respiratory issues in recent weeks, mostly in people with pre-existing conditions. The combination of flu season and Sandy cleanup -- which has brought unhygienic conditions, dirty water and mold into homes -- is a perfect storm for sickness, he says.
"Which of these factors actually cause these people to come in is very difficult to say, but clearly, there is an increase in the number of people that are coming in with these conditions," Ardolic said.
Zoda, who lives in Midland Beach, says this cough is different from anything he's had before.
“It is a very dry cough that I have. It's not a normal cough,” Zoda said.
And doctors say it’s not just mold that could irritate residents, but also dust and insulation.
From Eyewitness News:
Volunteers on the front lines of the recovery in the Rockaways see a health threat spreading through hundreds of water-soaked homes.
"We have senior citizens in their homes who are sick in their homes and can't get out."
Like so many homes in the Rockaways, Calvin Turney's home from the outside shows little damage. It's inside where Sandy's surge has left its mark. He says the first floor is filled with mold. The Turneys are also living without heat, electricity and water.
"No heat is a problem. How much can a body take," Turney said.
The mold and cold nights have taken a toll on Mr. Turney's wife, who days ago was diagnosed with bronchitis and given powerful inhalers to help her breathing.
The Health Department says it has no guidelines as to how bad the mold problem must be before considering evacuation.
And one month since Sandy, neither the city, the state, nor FEMA has a concrete plan for alternative housing for those displaced by mold, lack of heat, or a myriad of other problems making homes inhabitable.
Meanwhile, NYC claims it is fixing 300 homes a day.