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Last Updated

10 Dec 2002

Source: Newsday, November 8, 2001.

Anthrax victim still considering her options

TRENTON, N.J. -- A New Jersey postal worker who was hospitalized with inhalation anthrax remains undecided about whether she will return to work or take legal action against the postal service.

"I would have to think about what, if anything, could be gained by (going to court)" Norma Wallace said Thursday in response to a question from Katie Couric on NBC's "Today" show. "I just want to recover and return to my normal routine."

The Willingboro resident said she was working at the Hamilton regional mail processing plant on Oct. 9 when a machine jammed twice. Wallace remembers standing with her back turned to the machine while another postal employee shot compressed air into its inner-workings, sending dust particles flying.

A few days later, she came down with what she thought was a cold. It turned into the flu, so she thought. Then it became something much worse.

"I remember thinking, 'what's next? will I survive this' ... I told my daughter that I could die in a couple days, but I didn't think I was going to succumb," Wallace told Couric.

When asked about her recovery, Wallace said she considers herself "very blessed" to have been treated by skilled physicians who were able to quickly diagnose and treat her.

"It was like a whole troop of angels came down and did what was necessary to help me," Wallace said.

She remains undecided, though, about whether she will return to work.

"I want to respect my children's wishes, they don't want me to go back," she said. "But I can retire in a few years, so I have lots to think about."