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911 and Katrina, Still With Us

46 Year-Old Son of Gulfport Couple Dies of Hospital Treatment for Cancer Caused by Dust from 911 Twin Tower Collapse

By Keith Burton - GulfCoastNews.com      Filed 2/9/07

It isn't often that an obituary in a local newspaper marks an important story. But it happens. In this case it comes from a notice in the February 9, 2007, obituaries in the Sun Herald. While every death is tragic, this obituary told a story connected to the events of 911.

The story is about the death of the son of a Gulfport family. His name is Scott Parks, age 43, the son of  James and Donna Parks who live on east beach in Gulfport. The story is different because it is about the death of a man who worked at the World Trade Center when it collapsed on 911 who  got cancer from the dust of the collapsed towers, and then died as a result of a massive error at a New York hospital.

GCN spoke with James Parks, Scott's father, Feb. 9,  about his son's death who described his son's last two years as exceedingly painful and difficult.

Scott was born in Gulfport Oct. 16, 1963. Scott passed away in New York City recently as a result of a rare form  of cancer he incurred from the 9/11 attack and exacerbated by fatal medical error, according to the obituary. Scott was educated in Gulfport schools and graduated from Gulfport High School. He attended one year at Miss. State University, then earned degrees in Computer Science from University of Southern Mississippi. Scott worked in the Banking industry in New York City and Toronto, Canada.

Scott, and his wife Carmen, moved to NYC where Scott held a very good position with an International Bank in the World Trade Center. Scott was at the WTC on 9/11. He managed to avoid falling debris and bodies in the street, but was engulfed in the great ash cloud. Scott returned to help his company return to business by salvaging records around the site after the building's collapse. Later, Scott was diagnosed with a very rare, tiny cancer in Feb., 2005.

"His oncologist said it was caused by toxic carcinogens on 9/11 that has been associated with some other 911 cancer cases. A relatively minor medical procedure was horribly botched with defective radiation equipment and mal-functioning hospital personnel. He received massive doses of unshielded radiation. He was not expected to live beyond a few weeks, but he survived  two terrible years of extreme disability," reads the obituary.

"His treatment for the cancer, which was a tumor at the back of his tongue, was survivable," Mr. Parks told GCN. "He had a choice of whether to select surgery or radiation. And because the type of surgery is difficult, he chose to have the radiation treatment," Mr. Parks said.

Scott's father tells GCN that he chose to post the details of his son's death in the obituary because of the unusual situation. He said that such connections to deaths following 911 are often not reported or even revealed.

"It's one of these cases that is all hush-hush," Mr. Parks told GCN.

A settlement from the injuries Scott received was made by the hospital. Mr. Parks would not say which hospital it was, but they acknowledged the error.

Mr. Parks said that his son's burial services were delayed to allow an autopsy by federal medical experts examining 911-connected deaths.

While Scott survived about two years after the radiation mishap, Mr. Parks said life for his son was extremely difficult. He lost his hearing and eyesight and was in great pain. Mr. Parks said his son could move about, but this past Christmas Scott called the wife and family together.

"He knew it would be his last time," Mr. Parks said.

Mr. Parks and his wife are among the few that are rebuilding their home on the beach in Gulfport. His house was completely destroyed by Katrina.

Many people today feel that the events of 911 are behind them, much like what people are saying regarding Hurricane Katrina. The truth though,  is much different.

Scott Parks Obituary - Sun Herald

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