Soldier Suffers After 9/11

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Oct 14, 2009 at 10:24 PM EDT

A man from Endicott who responded to Ground Zero is among thousands suing over his illness.

39-year-old Robert Hull is a national guardsman deployed in the days following the 9/11 attacks.

As Action News Reporter Rachael Hidalgo tells us, 8 years later Hull is severely ill with mounting medical bills.

"While we were down in New York City for 9/11 we did security down there. We did close to 16 hours a day," says Robert Hull.

Robert Hull of Endicott is a member of the New York National Guard.

In 2001, he deployed to New York City with the 204th Engineers out of the Binghamton Armory.

They wore respirator masks, which Hull says clogged up within hours.

"Then the next day, they came around and said that we didn't need to wear the respirators because the E.P.A. had been down there and done air quality tests, and said that it was okay to breathe," says Hull.

A few months later, Hull became sick with pneumonia.

A few years later, his doctor told him he had severe lung damage, similar to pulmonary sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease.

"The amount of exposure was very severe that day.
It was a white thick cloud and that was the toxic material in the air, and that is what is causing that problem," says Dr. Arjun Patel from United Health Services.

"I can't walk very far because I get short of breath. I have glass, aluminum and zinc dust in my lungs and it'll never go away," says Hull.

And may never get better, and over time could be fatal.

Hull can no longer work.

His medicine costs more than $400 a month and with no income, he and his family are having difficulties.

"Was it worth him going down and risking his life? And in return nobody wants to help us or him. It's been rough," says his daughter Cassie Littler.

"My first goal is whoever will help. The National Guard because they should step up and take care of him," says his wife Kelly Hull.

Hull is one of 10-thousand 9/11 responders suing New York City, the Port Authority and contractors.

Attorney Marc Bern says the individual cases seek damages for pain, suffering and lost wages.

"I'm not the only soldier in this situation," says Hull.

The first trial dates in Federal Court are set for next Spring.

A spokesperson for the New York National Guard members put on state active duty are not eligible for benefits without serving 20 years.

However, if they are injured while serving, they can apply for a Line Of Duty, or release.

Hull is waiting to present his case before a board.

If approved, Hull would receive retirement and medical benefits.

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