Retired labourer develops fatal illness decades after asbestos exposure

How can we help you?

Your enquiry will be reviewed with no obligation.

Retired labourer develops fatal illness decades after asbestos exposure

15th November 2011

A retired Devon man who developed a deadly lung disease after he was exposed to asbestos in the 1950s has received more than £141,000 in damages in an out of court settlement.

Edmund Young, an industrial disease expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said his client, who is in his 70s, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2011 after an onset of symptoms that included breathlessness and a persistent dry cough.

“My client was employed as a labourer,” said Edmund, an associate with the firm. “He spent more than 20 years working for a paper mill operating a paper cutting machine within a building known as the cutting house.

“The cutting house had steam pipes running overhead along the length of the building which were lagged with asbestos,” added Edmund. “My client specifically remembers being present when contractors were brought in to remove the lagging over a number of days and how much dust the process created.

“He can recall how close he and his colleagues were to the contractors as the asbestos lagging was being ripped away and dumped on the floor,” continued Edmund. “He said that not only was there no extraction or ventilation system in place to clean the toxic air, but neither he nor his colleagues were ever provided with any kind of respiratory equipment to protect their lungs.”

Around Christmas 2010, the married father-of-one noticed his breathing had become laboured and he had developed a persistent dry cough as well as a loss of appetite. After visiting his GP, he was immediately referred to his local hospital where he underwent a number of tests including a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram.

In February 2011, he was told that his right lung had become stuck to his ribcage and needed to be loosened. After keyhole surgery was carried out and his lungs had been drained of fluid, a biopsy was taken which confirmed he had malignant mesothelioma.

“Mesothelioma is a horribly aggressive and painful terminal lung cancer that has devastated my client’s family and robbed him of his future,” said Edmund. “His mobility has been dramatically affected, he struggles with continuing shortness of breath and his life expectancy has been cruelly cut short.

“My client’s illness has been caused as a direct result of his employer’s failure to properly protect him from a substance that was already known to be extremely hazardous,” added Edmund. “Although he has received a single dose of radiotherapy he has been told that due to his age further doses will not be of benefit. He will need increasing levels of care in his final few months and it is hoped the settlement he has now received will ensure that this care is of the highest possible standard.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.