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Remembering 9/11: An Interview with Fire Officer Jim Sherwood on the Journey Back to Health

Remembering 9/11:  An Interview with Fire Officer Jim Sherwood on the Journey Back to Health

September-2010-911By Erin S. Ihde, MA 
Retired fire officer and 9/11 First Responder Jim Sherwood has contacted The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ several times over the year regarding environmental health. Below, he discusses his journey to gain back his health after exposure to toxic dust around Ground Zero.   
What was your role as a First Responder on 9/11? 
I was a Fire Officer in the Bronx, ten miles away from the World Trade Center, when it happened.  I had been serving for 20 years and did about another four after 9/11. 
Did you have any significant medical conditions prior to 9/11? 
Yes, I had fatigue and a stiff neck from Lyme Disease. I’d been through 5-6 years of treatment, and had significant improvement.  I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in the early 90’s and by 1997, I was pretty much okay. 
When did you notice your health had been affected by 9/11? 
After ’01, everyone [first responders] came down with the same thing: hyperactivity, plus I had a frazzled attention span.  I had to read sentences three times. The [NYC] Fire Department said it was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and not to bother with chelation (a medical treatment for heavy metal toxicity). 
What were your next steps? 
I first went to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project on Fulton and Nassau. It’s run by the Church of Scientology and paid for by Tom Cruise. A lot of people went there: over 500 fire and police [personnel] plus transit people.  I did 57 days there, but unfortunately didn’t find that it helped much.   
[Next] I contacted Leonard Haimes and went to the Haimes [Centre] Clinic in Boca Raton for chelation.  It was once a day for 30-some odd days. It got too expensive, so I continued chelation at the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, NY. 
Did any of the treatment centers find anything conclusive? 
The Schachter Clinic took blood and urine and found elevated levels of cadmium, mercury, arsenic, uranium and lead. I would do chelation for two days, then vitamins on day three. The protocol was roughly the same at both [Haimes Clinic and Schachter Clinic]. The Schachter Clinic gave me glutathione, and heavy-duty Vitamin C.  They recommended even further chelation to get [everything] out. 
Is there a central resource where First Responders can find information on treatment options? 
No, and I don’t know of other colleagues who have gone this route. I heard on the news that over 800 First Responders have died since 9/11 because of health issues – sinus, gastrointestinal, cancer of the appendix. 
I studied Dr. [Dietrich] Klinghardt, who started in his career looking at industrial poisoning and then moved on to study Lyme Disease. All people detox differently, he says. Basically, if you have a healthy liver and kidneys, you detox better. 
I did my [treatment] on my own and figured if it’s PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), after 3-5 years, it’s supposed to wane. That didn’t happen with me. I still had challenges with deductive reasoning. There’s no talk in the media about this.
  --  Interview conducted on 5/25/10
Since recovering his health, retired Fire Officer Jim Sherwood has continued involvement with the 9/11 Never Forget Coalition, run by his colleague, retired FDNY firefighter Tim Brown. ( 
September-2010-erinAbout Erin S. Ihde, MA: 
Erin S. Ihde is Research/Project Manager at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.  She specializes in children's environmental health research and education, particularly on eliminating exposures to everyday toxins.  Research concentrations include a pediatric multi-site clinical trial on a non-toxic treatment and the environmental factors associated with autism and other chronic illnesses.  She enjoys presenting on green living and greening the home to school groups and adults alike.  Ms. Ihde has an MA in Environmental Education from New York University and a BA in English from the Honors Program at The College of New Jersey.  She received a citizen's award from The New York Times and a fellowship from New York University's Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.   
Fall 2010 Greening Your Life Newsletter
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