After Mesothelioma Claims Her Musician Husband, Widow Sues BBC

Malignant mesothelioma is a cruel and fatal form of cancer that claims lives all over the world. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that has long been prized for its ability to add strength and fire-resistant properties to buildings, ships, factories, and many other applications. It was used extensively in the reconstruction of London after World War II, and as a result the United Kingdom has a very high incidence rate of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Among the latest victims to be identified are members of the BBC’s symphony orchestra, who performed for decades in a building contaminated with the carcinogenic material. A widow of one of those musicians has filed suit against the organization, seeking damages for her loss.

BBC Admits Liability in Mesothelioma Death

There is unlikely to be a sustained legal battle in the mesothelioma lawsuit that Patricia Larkin has filed against the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC has already admitted to its liability over her husband Christopher’s death. Larkin had played for the orchestra in its Maida Vale studio for over 36 years before being diagnosed with and dying of the rare, asbestos-related disease at the age of 73. Now the question is whether other victims will come forward.

In conceding liability for Larkin’s mesothelioma death, the broadcaster has provided documents to Mrs. Larkin’s attorneys, who are also representing the family of another orchestra member who succumbed to the disease last January at the age of 89. The paperwork indicates that the BBC was aware of the presence of asbestos in its studios in 1984. Despite this, the organization originally denied its role in Mr. Larkin’s illness.

Mesothelioma Victim’s Family Fears More Diagnoses to Come

Mr. Larkin’s family members are expressing concern that others who frequented the studio, including caterers and cleaners as well as other orchestra members, may eventually be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. His son Barney said, “I’m proud that Dad worked for the BBC for so long. They gave him a fantastic career. He travelled the world and played some amazing concerts and loved being in the symphony orchestra. But I’m also angry and sad for my family and for Dad that the BBC was negligent … He should have had another 10 years. As a family we want to know: when did the BBC know about the problem and what did they do about it? Did they let the symphony orchestra keep playing there despite knowing the risks?”

Both the BBC’s Maida Vale building and its Television Centre in White City, west London were contaminated with asbestos, making the risk of malignant mesothelioma all too real for those who worked there between 1966 and 1997.

The asbestos exposure that causes malignant mesothelioma can happen in settings of all types. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need access to resources, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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