Having watched the collapse of the World Trade Center, it became clear very quickly that the debris blowing through the streets and into the lungs, eyes, mouths and ears of the first responders was dangerous. MedHelp quickly joined efforts with National Jewish Health in Denver, CO, the #1 hospital in American for the treatment of respiratory disorders, to create a free Respiratory Disorders expert forum (http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Respiratory-Disorders/show/128
) to give the rescuers at the World Trade Center to access to some of the top medical experts in their field.
The response to the forum was overwhelmingly positive. Realizing the need for such a service for the general public as well as for emergency responders, the forum was opened to the public a few months later. In the next few years, National Jewish Health expanded the topics covered to include COPD (http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Chronic-Obstructive-Pulmonary-Disease-COPD/show/1011
) and Allergies and Asthma (http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Asthma-and-Allergy/show/99
In the 10 years the Respiratory Disorders forum has been open, the doctors at National Jewish have answered more than 7,000 questions on topics spanning from emphysema to tuberculosis to nasal polyps, and together we have assisted tens of millions of people worldwide.
When we first opened this forum, we worked with David Prezant, MD, then deputy chief medical officer for the New York City Fire Department, to make this service available to those who answered the call in those first weeks and months. Today we received a message from Dr. Prezant, now chief medical officer for the NYFD, thanking us for “all we continue to do to help people in need."
As we reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, and the 10 years since, we at MedHelp extend our deepest thanks to David Tinkleman, MD, and his colleagues at National Jewish Health who have generously shared their expertise and hope with millions of people across the United States and throughout the world.