One witness said that when she looked out the window when a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, “all you saw was the flames.”
In addition to that initial impact, over the next several weeks, most victims went to inconclusive doctor visits and were afraid to go outside or drink the water. Fear and mistrust still grip many in a community whipsawed by government assurances that the air and water are safe, warnings from activists like Erin Brockovich about cover-ups and danger for years to come, and social media misinformation.
A preliminary government report concluded that an overheated wheel bearing most likely caused the February 2023 Ohio train derailment.
The toxic particles which blanketed much of eastern Ohio could cause serious long-term illnesses, like cancer and breathing problems.
Toxic chemicals alter body DNA. Since the body cannot dispose of these particles. The effect never stops. Eventually, these altered cells build up and cause malignant tumors.
The good news is that cancer survival rates have improved a lot since the 1990s, mostly because of advances in the three primary cancer treatment areas:
Radiation: In the 1990s, cancer radiation therapy was almost like a full body X-ray. To shrink tumors, doctors had to bombard the body with radiation particles and cause extensive collateral damage. Today’s radiation treatments are much more targeted.
Chemotherapy: These drugs, which kill fast-dividing cells, were once strong enough to keep cancer from spreading. Now, they’re strong enough to actually reduce the size of a malignant tumor. Doctors must also be more careful in this area. Strong medicines have strong side-effects.
Surgery: These two improvements, by themselves, might effectively manage cancer. In other cases, these improvements often set the stage for more successful surgery. Smaller tumors are a lot easier to remove than larger tumors.
Progress isn’t cheap. Cancer treatments could cost more than $10,000 a month. Additionally, this disease never goes away. At best, it simply goes into remission.
Serious breathing problems are similar to cancer in many ways. Breathing problems begin rather innocuous, with symptoms like chest tightness and persistent coughing. By the time doctors diagnose these illnesses, the victims often need lung transplants, or other risky and radical procedures which are also very expensive.
Much like cancer, emotional injuries, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are usually incurable. However, they are manageable.
PTSD is not an emotional or processing disorder. Instead, PTSD is a specific kind of brain injury. Extreme stress enlarges the amygdala (part of the brain that controls emotional responses) and shrinks the cerebral cortex (logical responses).
If I see a box of donuts at a morning meeting, my amygdala tells me they are tasty and I should take as many as I want. My cerebral cortex tells me they’re fattening and I should save them for other Columbus personal injury lawyers who are stuck in that meeting. So, I compromise and take one. Or two at the most.
When the amygdala enlarges and the cerebral cortex shrinks, people are unable to control emotional impulses. As a result, they must endure symptoms like:
The aforementioned treatments are usually a combination of medication and physical therapy. PTSD drugs are very strong. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease, because of unwanted side-effects. PTSD therapy is often hit or miss. Different people respond to different methods in different ways.
These symptoms cause significant loss of enjoyment in life, as well as emotional distress. Victims deserve compensation for these losses as well.
Connect With a Dedicated Franklin County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact the Oliver Law Office. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.
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